UK Investor Visa
Remains Competitive
Among Global Peers

The Canadian government has recently decided to withdraw its Federal Immigrant Investor programme, a visa scheme that had allowed thousands of wealthy international investors to move to Canada and apply for permanent residency.  Canada’s Immigration Minister Chris Alexander explained that the decision was made after his government found that the visa programme not only provided little economic benefit but that the overseas investors gaining residency rights via this scheme were in fact maintaining very few ties with Canada.   

The scheme’s withdrawal has meant that some 75,600 pending applications will be returned to applicants along with the associated filing fees. More than 57,300 cases (75%) of these applications were filed by Chinese applicants in either Beijing or Hong Kong. 

In direct contrast to Canada’s closed door approach, the United Kingdom’s government continues to talk up the genuine opportunities available to overseas entrepreneurs and investors willing to invest in this country. There is now a real hunger to attract the world’s best sustainable, early-stage companies and entrepreneurs to set up their global business headquarters in the UK. 

For those wishing to set up or take over a UK business, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route continues to encourage overseas nationals to set-up and grow their businesses from the UK.  Depending on the level of investment and business activity in the UK, permanent residence can be achieved within 3 years.  Similarly, the Tier 1 (Investor) visa also offers a straightforward route to permanent residence for those willing to make a substantial financial investment in the UK.  The application assessment is based firmly on the migrant’s ability to invest a minimum of £1,000,000 in the UK but again is incentivised for those seeking to invest a greater sum.  

The UK continues to enjoy a prestigious reputation for its political infrastructure, business environment, legal framework, healthcare, history, education and welfare systems. With the current value being placed on entrepreneurs, the UK government is pulling out all the stops to encourage a greater number of overseas investors and early-stage businesses to relocate to the UK.  Perhaps those disappointed Chinese investors whose visa applications have recently been withdrawn by the Canadian government may therefore now consider the United Kingdom a more attractive and welcoming proposition. 

For further information on the Tier 1 visa categories, please contact Smith Stone Walters.   

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