As of today, Friday 7th November 2018, the Tier 1 Investor visa route will be suspended, meaning no further applications can be made under the Tier 1 Investor rules until further notice.
The suspension has come without prior warning and is a shock to many individuals who were preparing to make an application under Tier 1.
To have been eligible for a Tier 1 Investor visa, you must have had at least £2 million ready to invest in the UK.
Unlike other UK visa routes, as a Tier 1 Investor, there is no need to meet the English language requirement, prove income, or provide evidence of business planning in the UK.
The route can also lead to expedited settlement after 2 years if £10 million is invested, or 3 years if £5 million is invested.
For these reasons, the Tier 1 Investor visa is often referred to as the "golden visa".
Whilst the Tier 1 Investor visa was initially introduced to attract investment in the UK, the Government has indicated that suspension of the Tier 1 Investor visa route follows concerns that the route is being abused and used as a mechanism for money laundering.
Immigration minister, Caroline Nokes said that "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.”
New rules will be put in place at some point in 2019 for investors wanting to relocate to the UK.
The new Tier 1 Investor rules are likely to involve more scrutiny in terms of evidential requirements, tighter restrictions on the type of investments that qualify, and, in light of the concerns over money laundering, greater focus on the source of funds.
We will continue to update you on the proposed changes as further information is released by the Government.
If you have any questions, please contact the Ashfords Immigration team. For more information please contact Laura Godfrey, Solicitor in Employment and Immigration at Ashfords LLP, on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01392 333658