The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa and Qualifying Investments

1

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. 

The following guidelines outline the main criteria required for the Tier 1 Investor Visa and describes the main conditions attached to the visa. It further clarifies the types of investments which do not meet the qualification criteria as investments under the UK 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 spending 5 years in the UK and UK settlement status, or British Citizenship after 6 years in the country
  • A Tier 1 (Investor) applicant may wish to invest more than the minimum £2 Million investment to reach the set higher thresholds, which will result in a quicker route to settlement and 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.

Investments Not Considered as Qualifying

The following investments are not considered as qualifying investments for the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa:

  • Funds invested via an offshore company or trust.
  • Investments against which loans have been taken out. 
  • Investments that are held in non-UK custody accounts.
  • Funds invested in open-ended investment companies, investment trust companies or pooled investment vehicles. This is because it is ultimately impossible to track whether the investment is in the UK. 
  • Funds invested in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or development, whose objective is to earn a return through rental income. However, investment in construction firms, manufacturers or retailers who own their own premises are recognised.
  • Deposits with a bank, building society or other enterprise whose normal course of business includes the acceptance of deposits.
  • ISAs, premium bonds and saving certificates issued by the National Savings and Investment Agency.
  • Leveraged investment funds – they will not be accepted as the Tier 1 (Investor) migrant’s own funds.

It is essential that the investment under the Tier 1 Investor Visa application is made in accordance with the UK Immigration Rules. Failing to comply may result in serious issues at the time of extension or application for settlement. 

The Tier 1 Investor requirements are complex, and it is therefore essential that the applicant is fully informed of all the requirements. 

It is of paramount importance for those considering their UK Tier 1 Investor Visa options, to consult an established UK immigration Law firm and a company with UK immigration expertise, who understand the Immigration rules and can advise on the preparation and processing of the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa application, in accordance with the UK Immigration rules, ensuring application approval. Omitting even minor details may cause issues upon applying for extension.

Unfortunately, if a mistake is made with the investment, the applicant may find themselves in breach of the Immigration Rules which may result in a refusal for which there is no right to appeal, hence why the choice of a trusted and experienced partner is vital. 

Astons is a leading global immigration advisory firm offering residence & citizenship investment solutions in the UK, EU and the Caribbean.

Astons Law has over 30 years’  expertise in offering UK Immigration services and legal support to individuals and corporate firms, offering advice on UK Tier 1 Investor Immigration, Entrepreneur and Exceptional talent/Promise Services and can also assist with urgent processing and extension of UK visas and permanent residence and settlement status in the United Kingdom. 

Astons Law is governed and regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards.

For further information on UK Tier 1 Investor Visa or other global citizenship matters or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please contact Astons at info@astons.com or call +44207 292 2977.