Update: Tier 1 Investor visa route suspension amid money laundering concerns

In an attempt to crack down on organised crime and money laundering in the United Kingdom the UK government plans to suspend the Tier 1 Investor visa route. The Tier 1 Investor visa route was introduced for high net worth individuals who wish to invest their wealth in the United Kingdom in return for residency. At this stage, it is unclear when these plans will come into effect as the government has not provided an indication of when they plan to suspend this popular visa route. It is our advice that genuine investors submit an application soon rather than later.

Why is the government planning to scrap the Tier 1 Investor visa route?

The government plans to crack down on organised crime and money laundering and will suspend the Tier 1 Investor visa until they have put measures in place to prevent illegal activity. There were over 1000 Tier 1 Investor visa applications submitted in the last year. It has been suggested that the government has been triggered to suspend this route as a result of the Salisbury poisoning incident. However, if you are a genuine Tier 1 Investor you should not be too concerned as the suspension is not long-term and once the government has conducted their investigation the route shall be opened again. It is likely that there may be some changes in the Immigration Rules in relation to the demonstrating the source of the funds and the period the funds have been in the Applicants control.

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said:

“The UK will always be open to legitimate and genuine investors who are committed to helping our economy and businesses grow. “However, I have been clear that we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system. “That is why I am bringing forward these new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”

What are the requirements of a Tier 1 Investor visa route?

The requirements for a Tier 1 Investor visa application are far more relaxed when compared with some of the other points based systems applications such as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa or the Tier 2 General work permit visa. The relevant rules for a Tier 1 Investor visa application can be found under Paragraph 245E of the Immigration Rules. In addition to Paragraph 245E of the Immigration Rules, the relevant Appendixes must be considered as well as the Home Office Policy Guidance.

 In order to apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa route Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • You must not fall under the General Grounds of Refusal;
  • You must be at least 18 years of age unless you are applying as a Tier 1 Investor dependent;
  • You must provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country you have continuously been present for at least 12 months in the last 10 years. The certificates must have been issued within 6 months of the Tier 1 Investor visa application;
  • You must have £2 million of our own money under your control and it must be held in a regulated financial institution. The money must be disposable in the UK; and
  • You must have a UK bank account with a regulated bank for investment purposes.

Unlike some of the other points-based system applications under this route, you will not need to show that you meet the English language requirement. Applicants are also exempt from meeting a maintenance requirement. However, this does not mean that Applicants can access public funds in the UK. Tier 1 Investor visa migrants must be self-sufficient otherwise they could struggle to meet the Tier 1 Investor visa extension application requirements.

Settlement Rights in the UK under the Tier 1 Investor Visa

One of the key attractions for the Tier 1 Investor visa is the potential to settle in the UK before the 5-year mark. In normal circumstances, Applicants can only settle once they have resided in the UK for 5 continuous years and meet the requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the Immigration Rules. The Tier 1 Investor visa offers accelerated settlement for Applicants and their dependents. Ultimately, the settlement route would depend on the investment amount. The accelerated investment amounts are listed below:

  • £10 million investment allows settlement in 2 years;
  • £5 million investment allows settlement in 3 years; or
  • £2 million investment allows settlement in 5 years.

Another benefit for Applicants is that they are not required to meet the English Language requirement that must be met in other Points Based System applications such as Tier 1 EntrepreneurTier 2 Work and Tier 4 Student visa. The residency requirement is also very kind as it allows Applicants to spend up to 180 days outside the UK per year. There is no other visa category under the Immigration Rules that allows Applicants to spend 180 days outside the UK without breaking the residency requirement.

Using Legal Representation to Prepare a Tier 1 Investor Visa Application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Tier 1 Investor Visa application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Tier 1 Investor Visa application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your Tier 1 Investor Visa route application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Tier 1 Investor Visa Application

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your Tier 1 Investor Visa application and the merit of your Tier 1 Investor Visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your Tier 1 Investor Visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to a successful Tier 1 Investor Visa route application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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