Important deadline for
Tier 1 Investors
10 March 2023
In February 2022, the UK government closed the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route to new applications for entry clearance or leave to remain.
The Tier 1 (Investor) category is for high net-worth individuals making a substantial financial investment in the UK. The route qualifies wealthy individuals to apply for settlement in the UK in as little as two years, depending on the amount of cash invested. The decision to scrap this so-called ‘golden visa’ was made in response to security concerns and fears that the route was being abused by people who had acquired their wealth illegitimately.
Although the route is no longer accepting new applications, those already in the UK on a Tier 1 (Investor) visa can still apply to settle in the UK or apply to extend their visa for 2 years. The Home Office has published guidance for Tier 1 (Investor) migrants looking to extend leave (including out of country applications) or apply to settle as an existing Tier 1 (Investor) migrant.
Investors wishing to extend their leave in the UK should be aware of an upcoming deadline which could impact their extension application.
Tier 1 (Investor) extensions
Those applying to extend their Tier 1 (Investor) visa must meet certain investment eligibility requirements depending on when they successfully applied for their visa.
Applicants whose initial leave was granted between 6 November 2014 and 28 March 2019 must show that they have invested at least £2 million in the UK by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
Deadline for extensions relying on investment in government bonds
You must apply before 6 April 2023 for any extension if you wish to rely on investment in government bonds.
If you apply for an extension on or after 6 April 2023, you can only rely on investments that were in government bonds before 6 April 2023. You must maintain £2 million in qualifying investments in active and trading UK registered companies from 6 April 2023 onwards.
What’s next for UK investor visas?
The Home Office has not yet indicated whether a new visa route for investors will be established in the future. However, earlier this year the Home Secretary Suella Braverman made a statement in Parliament outlining the findings of a review into the Tier 1 (Investor) route.
According to Braverman, the results of the review showed that just a ‘small minority of individuals’ connected to the route were potentially at high risk of having obtained wealth through corruption or other illicit financial activity, and / or being engaged in serious and organised crime. The Home Secretary also confirmed that 10 oligarchs who had previously used the route have been sanctioned as part of the government’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Addressing the plausibility of a future route for investors, the Home Secretary said: “The Government is clear that any future visa route to facilitate investment-based migration must not offer entry solely on the basis of the applicant’s personal wealth. We are continuing to consider options to bring forward alternative provisions to support investment-based migration benefiting the UK economy on a fundamentally different model within the Innovator visa programme, placing more emphasis on the applicant’s track record as an investor in innovative business and an assessment of their plans to actively engage in such activity in the UK. We will ensure any new provisions are brought forward carefully.”
If you have a Tier 1 (Investor) visa and need advice on meeting the requirements for settlement in the UK, Smith Stone Walters can help. Our team of immigration experts can assess your eligibility and provide practical support with the application process. To find out how we can help, please contact us today.