Migration Advisory Committee to Review the Tier 1 Investor Visa Route

The UK Government has asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the economic impact of the Tier 1 Investor visa route and comment on the current minimum level of investment required for this route. Minister for Immigration, Mark Harper has asked the MAC to consider whether the investment thresholds are appropriate to deliver significant economic benefits for the UK, in particular the minimum £1m threshold required under this category. The MAC is expected to report their findings to the government next month.

Sir David Metcalfe’s Views of the Tier 1 Investor Visa Route

Sir David Metcalfe, the head of the UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), gave evidence to the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Committee on 10th of December 2013 in relation to the value of Tier 1 Investor visa route.

Questioned on how he was progressing with the review, Sir David Metcalfe stated: “Let me say something that we found, which is peculiar, but perhaps you have heard many more peculiar things. Nobody can tell us why we have the Investors route. It is not anywhere set out whether we have the Investors route. We basically had to start with a blank sheet of paper.”

High Net Worth UK Immigration: Tier 1 Investor Visa

The Home Office currently has a welcoming stance towards rich ‘high net worth’ migrants whilst deterring those deemed to be ‘low quality migrants.’ Since the introduction of the Points Based System in 2008, to 2013 Q2 (quarter), 1,470 entry clearance visas were granted for Tier 1 Investor main applicants.

Latest immigration statistics released by the Home Office reveal that in the four quarters to 2013 Q2, the total number of Tier 1 Investor visas issued to main applicants were 1,706 compared to 10,749 visas issued to Tier 2 General migrants (those who are sponsored by UK employers). The statistics also show that in the four quarters to 2013 Q2, 576 applications were made for entry clearance visas by Tier 1 Investor main applicants and 55 (or 9.5%) were refused.

Current Economic Impact of Tier 1 Migrants

Earlier this year, the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) investigated the economic and labour market impacts in the UK of migrants using the Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Investor routes. NIESR found that factors such as financial resources and host country attitudes and institutions, play a role in attracting skilled migrants to the UK.

The presence of skilled migrants has been linked to increased trade and investment flows between source and destination countries. It seems that the majority of Tier 1 Investors have invested in government bonds as this was the most straightforward way in which to satisfy visa requirements.

Constraints of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Route

NIESR’s research reveals that some investors did not wish to be constrained by the visa requirements associated with the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route so instead applied via the Investor visa route. The Investor visa category is designed for migrants who want to make a substantial financial investment in the UK without having to take the more proactive steps that are involved with the Entrepreneur visa route.

Other concerns by investors identified by NIESR were that the 180 day residence requirement was too strict and hindered their ability to further their international business interests.

Our Immigration Team will be following this matter closely and analysing the MAC’s review once the report is published next month.

Successful Visa Applications for High Net Worth Migrants

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 1 Investor Visa application or Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. We also provide expert legal advice on UK Visitor’s Visas. Please contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment of your case.

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