Changes To Tier 1 (Investor) Visa Category Rules

New amendments to the Immigration Rules were laid before Parliament yesterday (15 June 2018). One of the visa categories that is being amended is the Tier 1 (Investor) route. The Tier 1 (Investor) category is for high net worth individuals making an investment of at least £2 million in the UK.

From 6 July 2018 the following changes will be made to the Tier 1 (Investor) route:

  • Tier 1 (Investor) applicants have historically been required to maintain their investments throughout the term of their Tier 1 (Investor) visa. A change to the Immigration Rules is being made to clarify that, while Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders may withdraw interest and dividend payments generated by their qualifying investments from their portfolios, they may not do so if these interest and dividend payments were generated before the Tier 1 (Investor) visa applicant purchased the portfolio.
  • Tier 1 (Investor) applicants have also historically been required, as part of the requirement to provide documentary evidence of their investment, to submit portfolio reports signed off by a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. A further change to the Immigration Rules is being made to require institutions to confirm that the funds have only been invested in ‘qualifying’ investments and that no loan has been secured against those funds. ‘Qualifying’ investments do not include: an offshore company or trust, investments that are held in offshore custody, open-ended investment companies, investment trust companies, investment syndicate companies, pooled investment vehicles, companies mainly engaged in property investment/management/development, deposits with a bank/building society/other enterprise whose normal course of business includes the acceptance of deposits, ISAs, premium bonds and saving certificates issued by National Savings and Investment, and leveraged investment funds. The Home Office have stated that purpose of this change to the Immigration Rules is to put a further obligation on financial firms to carefully scrutinise the suitability of Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders’ investments, in addition to their own due diligence.

Thea abovementioned changes will apply to all Tier 1 (Investor) visa applications, or settlement applications made by Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders, made on or after Friday 6 July 2018.

In summary the new amendments to the law impact upon the way that accrued interest and declared dividends are treated within a Tier 1 (Investor) portfolio of investments and introduce the requirement to provide further formal written confirmation from institutions to support Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders’ extension applications and/or ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ applications. Tier 1 (Investor) migrants should ensure that those in charge of their investments are aware of these forthcoming changes and that their portfolio reports and/or accompanying letters formally confirm that the relevant investments have complied with the investment requirements of the Tier 1 (Investor) route. If Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders applying for an extension of their visa (or applying for settlement) are informed by those in charge of the investments that they cannot make such a formal confirmation, they should urgently seek advice from specialist immigration lawyers. Those applying for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa for the first time, should consider requesting that the ‘qualifying’ requirement explicitly form part of their contractual agreement with those in charge of their investments.

For legal advice on any issue relating to Tier 1 (Investor) visas, or for assistance with applying for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, contact us and speak to one of our immigration lawyers.