Brexit – 80% rise in UK Investor Visa applicants

 

The first set of figures released by the UK Government, after the Brexit vote, shows a significant increase in the number of new applicants for the UK Tier 1 (Investor) visa to 72 main applicants with 133 dependents.  This is an increase of 80% from the previous quarter of 40 main applicants.

 

Breaking down into the country of nationality for the main applicants, this remains constant with historical trends as Chinese nationals accounted for 33% of the main applicants and when incorporating Hong Kong we near 40%.  Russians still dominate; accounting for 20% of the applicants as it has, historically speaking.

 

Historically the amount of UK Investor Visa applicants varied significantly.  The peak was seen in Q4 2014 with 471 visas issued in this category. On the 6th of November 2014 the minimum investment was raised to £2m prompting a rush of applicants before the deadline.  Since the increase there has been a consistent average of circa 45 per quarter.

 

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The UK and especially London has always been a destination of choice.  Attracting migrants because of all it has to offer in the areas of education, finance, rule of law, and quality of life to name but a few.

 

What are the reasons for the sudden increase of Investor Visa Applicants?  Brexit!

 

Brexit Sale – In the investment community we call it a Brexit Sale, whereby the value of the Pound after the vote has fallen by on average 20% against major currencies.  Specifically against the Chinese Yuan we have seen a decline of 11% during Q3 16, and a 15% fall against the Russian Ruble during the same period.  Foreign Direct Investment into the UK has increased on all fronts including in the corporate sector where M&A activity has reached record levels with some high profile acquisitions of well established brands being snapped up.

 

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EU migration 
– The key argument in the Brexit debate was to be able to control EU migration.  While we still do not know what will happen to existing Europeans in the UK, it is likely that we will see a control of immigration rights for EU citizens.
Therefore, will we see a shift of applicants ordinarily applying for Maltese or Cypriot citizenship apply for the UK Investor Visa instead?  Choice of citizenship is very personal and off course dependent on what one aims to achieve.  For those wishing to reside in the UK, given today’s uncertainty a direct application seems to be the preferred route.
Seems that the current number of applicants may be the new norm, or even the base.  We are already seeing an increase of applicants from Iranians and Americans thanks to the Trump effect.

 


Author:
Farzin Yazdi
Shard Capital Investor Visa