The UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the government’s economic advisors, have today suggested that wealthy foreigners should be offered the chance to bid for fast track settlement in the UK by entering an annual auction for 100 “premium” visas starting at £2.5m. We reported last month that Professor Sir David Metcalf, chairman of MAC, was keen for new ways to be devised for the UK to benefit from the visa system. Last year, the Committee were asked to consider whether the Tier 1 investment thresholds were appropriate to deliver significant economic benefits for the UK, in particular the minimum £1m threshold required under this category.
Migration Advisory Committee Criticises Current UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Route
The government’s immigration advisors, have criticised the current Tier 1 Investor visa route under which wealthy foreigners from outside the EEA can make investments of £1m to £10m in Gilts in return for a faster route to settlement in the UK. Once applicants invested the requisite funds, they then received permission to apply for permanent residence in two, three or five years. Under this route, spouses and dependents of wealthy foreigners were also granted leave.
Migration Advisory Committee Recommends Changes to UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Route
MAC has suggested a sealed bidding process, made up of a compulsory £2m investment plus a £500,000 donation to a “good causes funds” to be distributed among schools, hospitals and charities. Under Sir David’s plan, the existing £1m investor route would be raised to £2m, but the £5m and £10m visas would be scrapped to make way for the premium visa.
In return for their financial outlay, successful premium bidders would receive the right to settle permanently in the UK in two years instead of five years and would only need to spend 90 days a year instead of 180 days in the country to qualify.
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.
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.