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Record interest in 2018 as investors raced to apply for UK tier 1 investor visas ahead of suspension

Anticipation that the Home Office will reform the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Program saw investors rush to submit their applications in December. The exact details of the reform are yet to be known, however application volumes set a record high since application prices doubled back in 2014. 

In the fourth quarter of 2018 entry clearances were received by 92 main applicants and 117 dependents under the UK’s Tier 1 Investor Visa scheme according UK Home Office statistics. The year’s total was 376 main applications and 590 dependents, up from 350 and 531 respectively in 2017.


Mainland Chinese made up 42% of the applicants, with Russians and Americans accounting for 7% and 8% of investors respectively. 

It was understood that the Home Office’s announcement in December that the program would be suspended pending the reforms had pushed investors to accelerate their applications.


The Home Office and BBC announced that it would suspend the Tier 1 Investor Visa applications at midnight on either the 5th or 6th of December which led investors to hastily submit their applications as widespread uncertainty and confusion remained regarding the program’s intended changes set for this spring.

Investors were able to make initial applications without fully prepared supporting documents as they would not need to present them until the appointment with the Home Office weeks later.


December and January saw over 40 new applications for investment accounts from China alone, according to Steinmetz Leffa, Head of the China Desk at Shard Capital Investor Visa.

Tier 1 consultancies are hoping to influence the reform process by offering the Home Office suggestions through a privately initiated survey which was distributed around three weeks ago.


Astons is a leading global immigration advisory firm with offices in London, Moscow, Dubai, Cyprus and China and offers residency & citizenship investment solutions in the EU & the Caribbean.


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