Home Office U-turn over suspension of Tier 1 (Investor Visa)
Following a last minute announcement that the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa was being suspended for new applicants from midnight on 6 December 2018, the Home Office has confirmed that the suspension has not taken place.
However, it remains committed to reforming this immigration route and will be making a further announcement in due course. Any suspension will be now be implemented through changes to the Immigration Rules, meaning that there should be a few weeks’ advance notice before it comes into effect. In addition, any suspension should only affect new applicants and so investors who are already in the scheme or who apply before the scheme is suspended should not be affected.
We understand that the proposed overhaul of this route is due to growing concerns around the background and eligibility of applicants. New rules are expected to be put in place in 2019 and any suspension is likely to remain in place until those rules come into force (possibly in the Spring). The reformed visa is likely to require applicants to provide comprehensive audits of their financial and business interests, and show they have had control of the £2m of investment funds required to obtain the Tier 1 visa for at least two years. It is unclear how this would work in relation to gifts from parents to children, which is very common. Investments in UK government bonds are unlikely to count and it is possible that there will be restrictions on qualifying investments, with only investments in UK registered active and trading companies qualifying.
It would be difficult to impose changes in investments on investors already in this category and so the changes are likely only to affect new applicants.
We will update our website as we hear more news about the reforms. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated immigration team.
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