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Tier 1 Investor Visa Requirements

June 2019 - Immigration. Legal Developments by Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors.

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The Tier 1 investor visa is a category for high net worth individuals making a substantial financial investment of £2 million plus in the UK. The advantages of the Visa are that it does not require the applicant to show they have an English language ability since, whilst they are allowed to work in the UK if they wish to do so, it is not a requirement of the Visa that they should work.

Furthermore, Britain wishes to encourage high net worth investors to invest in its economy and commercial enterprises which can only be for the benefit of the country as a whole. Therefore, to place unnecessary dampeners on this visa category, such as a requirement that an applicant should pass a particular level of an English language test may not be seen as encouraging those who wish to invest in the UK, indeed to do so.

In addition, whilst all other points based category visas require the applicant to show minimum funds for maintenance, an applicant for an investor visas will not need to show any funds for maintenance because if the investment funds are available, it goes without saying that applicants will be able to support themselves in the UK without recourse to public funds.

Money laundering and other reasons for refusal

Since this visa category requires substantial investment in the UK, Britain's immigration authorities are cautious that monies being invested here from abroad are the genuine funds of the applicant, or third-party gifted, for example to the applicant for the purpose of the investment and, and are not proceeds of crime or other wrongdoing laundered money, in which event the visa would be refused. In addition, this visa category like all categories, are subject to the good conduct requirement, for example that the applicant should not have had criminal convictions, or should not have been guilty of fraudulent conduct either in this country or abroad, rendering their residence in this country not to be conducive to the public good. The general grounds for refusal are listed in the immigration rules HC 395 as amended.

Dependants

Dependants of the main applicant for Tier 1 Investor Visa category, such as spouse and children under the age of 18 may be able to join the main applicant. They would need to make their own applications using the appropriate forms for dependants.

Settlement

This visa category leads to settlement, that is to say indefinite leave to remain /permanent residency, after five years. There is an accelerated path to settlement if for example there has been an investment of between £5 million-£10 million whereby settlement can be achieved in a far shorter period of time, like between 2- 3 instead of five years.

What is required for the initial application?

In order to qualify for the initial grant of leave in this category, the applicants must have money their own, held in a regulated financial institution and which is disposable that is to say freely transferable to the UK without exchange control regulations, amounting to not less than £2 million. It will also be necessary to have opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purpose of investing these funds in the UK.

Extensions of stay under this category when the initial application was made prior to 6 November 2014. Extension applications must be made before 6 April 2020 in the circumstances where the initial application was made under the old rules.

If the initial grant of leave or entry clearance took place prior to 6 November 2014, to extend further leave to remain, applicants would have  had to show money of their own, under their own control in the UK amounting to not less than ¬£1 million, or would have shown personal assets which taking into account any liabilities to which they are subject, like example mortgage, had a net value of not less than ¬£2 million and would have  had to show that the funds were under their control and disposable in the UK amounting to not less than ¬£1 million, or they were funds loaned to them by a UK regulated financial institution.

Furthermore, applicants would have had to show they had invested not less than £750,000 of that capital in the UK by way of UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies other than those principally engaged in property investment; and had invested the remaining balance of the £1million in the UK by the purchase of assets or by maintaining the money on deposit in a UK regulated financial institution.

In addition, applicants would have had to make the investment within three months of, for example entering the UK by way of entry clearance, or within three months of the date of entry clearance.  Where the investment was made prior to the first grant of leave as a Tier 1 investor, the investment must have been made within no later than 12 months before the date of the application which led to the grant of leave as a Tier 1 investor.

The applicant should apply before 6 April 2020 for an extension if they had invested £1 million as aforesaid. It is a requirement that the £2 million investment criteria will have to be met for any extension applications made after this date.

Where Initial leave has been granted between on or after 6 November 2014 and 20 March 2019

if the applicant was granted entry clearance, leave to enter or remain under the rules in place on or after 6 November 2014, to extend leave further the applicant must have invested not less than £2 million (previously £1million pounds see above), in the UK under the rules by way of UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. The period within which the investment should have been made is within three months of entry or within three months of leave to enter or remain unless there are exceptionally compelling reasons for the delay in investing.

Any extension application when the initial grant of leave was made between the above dates must be made before 6 April 2023 if the applicant wishes to rely on the investment in government bonds e.g. see as aforesaid.

Initial leave granted on or after 29th of March 2019-- the present requirements!

For such applications only, investments in active and trading UK registered companies will be accepted where the initial grant of leave to enter or remain was granted on or after the above date. To extend such leave the Tier 1 migrant must have invested not less than £2 million in the UK by way of UK share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. The investment must have been made within three months of entry to the UK, or within three months of the date of grant of entry clearance or where the investment was made prior to the application, it should be made within 12 months of the first grant of leave. In each case the investment must have been maintained for the whole of the remaining period of that leave. Delay in making the investment for unforeseeable and outside of the applicant's control reasons will be taken into account. Active companies do not include launderettes or the purchase of properties to let. The purchase and investment of an estate agency for the purchase, sale of domestic/commercial properties and or pursuing letting management activities would be work that is active.

What happens when an application is refused?

There is no appeal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal or to the higher courts. Any redress may be by way of administrative review which is conducted on the same information as was before the Home Office when considering the application. No new information can be supplied. If administrative review is unsuccessful then there is a judicial review to the upper tribunal and an application can be made for permission. It may be that a judicial review could lead to an appeal if government solicitors agree that the applicant vacates the proceedings and to reconsider and in event of a negative response they will grant a right of appeal.

What sources of funds will be acceptable for the investment

Other than income from employment or self-employment, there are various other funds that will be acceptable to the Home Office for investment purposes, and they are for example: -  Gifts; deeds of sale; evidence from a business; will; divorce settlement; award-winning, may all be considered as other sources for which specified evidence will be required.

Further information and clarification and documentation required for the application and the method of making the application

We hope that the above information provides you with a general synopsis of the Tier 1 investor visa method of gaining eventual permanent residency in the UK and thereafter British citizenship. It is certainly a popular visa for those who have the funds, who may decide to do nothing in the UK other than watch their investments grow, or who may if they wish work in the business in which they have invested if they choose to do so. They have the best of both worlds.

Please do not hesitate to contact our team if you have questions at info@gulbenkian.co.uk  or call 020 7269 9590 or visit www.gulbenkian.co.uk and leave a message for further advice and assistance.