The Tier 1 Investor Visa and Qualifying Investments
The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa still remains to be one of the most sought-after visas in the world. According to Home office statistics ending March 2018, UK Tier 1 Investor Visa applications rose by 11% from the previous year, and there appears to be no signs of demand slowing down amid the hysteria of Brexit.
The following guidelines outline the main requirements for the Tier 1 Investor Visa and describes the main conditions attached to the visa. They clarify the types of investments which do not meet the qualification criteria as investments under Appendix A of the Immigration Rules.
Main criteria for Tier 1 Investor Visa:
- The applicant must have a minimum of £2 million available to invest in the UK.
- The funds must be invested in the UK in qualifying investments and must remain invested for the duration of the migrant’s stay in the UK. The qualifying investments are:
- UK Government Bonds; or
- Share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies,
“Active and trading UK registered company” – a trading company that is doing business and has its registered office or head office in the UK. The company must also have a UK business bank account showing current transactions and be subject to UK taxation. This includes multinational companies with a registered office in the UK.
- The applicant is eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after residing in the UK for a continuous 5 years and can naturalise as a British Citizen after 6 years of continuous residence in the UK.
- A Tier 1 (Investor) applicant may wish to invest more than the minimum £2 Million investment, which in turn results accelerates their eligibility for indefinite leave to remain (ILR):
- Investment of £5 Million – Indefinite Leave to Remain or settlement status after 3 years or British citizenship after 5 years in the country.
- Investment of £10 Million – Indefinite Leave to Remain or settlement status after 2 years or British citizenship after 5 years in the country.
- Tier 1 Investor migrants are only permitted to remove interest accrued and dividends declared, after the date on which they purchased the qualifying investment.
A Tier 1 Investor migrant is not restricted to keeping the initial investment funds in one qualifying investment during his stay in the UK. The funds may be reinvested, as long as the initial level of investment is maintained. However, if an investment is sold at a loss, the investor migrant must purchase a new investment at the price at which the investment was sold, even though it may be smaller than the initial required investment. If an investment is sold at a gain, the investor migrant must purchase a new investment using the gross proceeds of the sale, even if they are larger than the initial investment.
It is important to make a new qualifying investment either by the end of the next reporting period, or within six months, whichever is sooner.
It must be noted that the invested capital cannot be used to pay any portfolio management fees, transaction costs or tax incurred through the buying and selling of investments. However, if more than £2M (or £5M or £10M, as appropriate) is invested, it will be possible for the charges to be paid from the surplus, providing the surplus was invested on or before the date the charges were incurred.
The Tier 1 Investor category still remains exempt from the English language requirement and the maintenance requirement, making it one of the least onerous visas to obtain of all the immigration categories.
Astons Law has been specialising in Tier 1 investor visa for more than 20 years and specialises in providing expert immigration advice and innovative solutions.
Author: Pav Bassi, Solicitor, Head of Immigration, Astons