Currently investors need to show they have £1 million available to invest to be granted entry to or permission to stay in the UK. From 6 November 2014 this will rise to £2 million.
The government announced this anticipated change to the Immigration Rules on 16 October 2014. The new rules will not apply to existing visa holders and any applications submitted on or before 5 November 2014 will be considered under the old rules . Therefore applicants wishing to rely on the existing £1 million requirement must move quickly to apply before 6 November 2014.
Other changes to the Tier 1 (Investor) category from 6 November 2014 include a restriction upon investing in property. Currently £750,000 of the £1 million has to be invested in UK government bonds or share or loan capital in active and trading UK businesses but the remaining 25% can be spent as the investor wishes e.g. in purchasing a property to live in in the UK. From 6 November the whole sum must be invested into UK government bonds or into active and trading UK businesses.
A welcome change for investors from 6 November will be that the sum invested no longer needs to be “topped up” to keep it at £2 million if the market value falls. This will make investing in UK business less risky.
The new Immigration Rules retain the relatively string-free nature of Tier 1 (Investor) route. There remain no requirements for English language proficiency, age or qualifications or to create jobs in the UK.
The ability to achieve indefinite residence in the UK after 5 years or via fast-track for those who invest higher sums in the UK is also retained.
There are other routes available for investment of lower sums in the UK, in particular the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route which for most requires a £200,000 investment into a UK business or businesses. However the investment is not string-free as applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency, additional savings for maintenance and have to create jobs for UK workers to extend their stay and qualify for indefinite leave to remain.
Bryony Rest is head of immigration and specialises in business and personal immigration to the UK and offers advice to potential investors in the UK. She is happy to “meet” online. To arrange a consultation please contact her assistant Irfan Ali or telephone 0191 232 9547