The Tier 1 (Investor) visa route was designed by the Government to give those making substantial financial investments, and their families, the ability to enter and remain in the UK with minimal restrictions.
Like other Tier 1 and Tier 2 Visas it allows the holder to settle after a period of time, however, unlike many of the other points based routes, this route gives the holder an almost unrestricted right to work or undertake self-employment in the UK for the duration of the visa.
Despite the apparent simplicity of the route, it is not without its difficulty. Some foul of the Immigration rules, by not considering how it is currently interacting with Home Office policy and guidance.
After it was first introduced the Home Office have made several changes to the requirements which now include a power for them to assess the source of the funds used for the investments as well as the applicant’s intentions.
We understand that our clients want clear advice and as straightforward a process as possible. Not only are we able to provide clear and concise advice on the best route for you and your family to obtain a visa, but we join this with pragmatic advice in respect of your investments to plan your entry into the UK in the most tax efficient way possible.
Requirements of the Tier 1 (Investor) visa
- Have control of £2m of their own funds.
- Have opened an account with a ‘UK Regulated bank’ for the purpose of investing not less than £2m
- Provide a valid criminal record certificate from each of the countries you have been resident in (if applying from abroad)
- Provide a Tuberculosis test certificate, if applying from a relevant country.
We will work with you from the outset to ensure you meet the initial entry requirements and just as importantly, we will ensure you are aware of the requirements you must satisfy in order to extend your visa, and settle in the UK.
It is important that the funds are invested in the appropriate account within three months and that these funds are then invested in the appropriate businesses or Government bonds which comply with the Immigration Rules.
As a result of the change in the rules in 2014, new applicants will no longer require to ‘top-up’ their investment to retain its value, you will not be able to draw down if there is an increase as a result of a sale of investments. The total (gross) proceeds from the sale of investments must be reinvested. It is important that the financial institution managing your portfolio are aware of all of the requirements and if you fall under the new rules.
Accelerated route to settlement
Normally, the holder of a Tier 1 (Investor) visa will acquire indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after holding this visa for a period of 5 years. For those who invest more than the initial required amount, however, settlement can be achieved significantly faster.
- Settlement in three years if you invest £5m
- Settlement in two years if you invest £10m
It is important to remember that when applying for ILR you must also pass the Life in the UK test and meet an English language requirements. .
It is important to keep in mind what your long term objectives are – there may be only limited benefit in accelerated settlement if your main objective is to become a British Citizen at the end of the procedure. This is because in order to become a British citizen you must in most cases have six years lawful residence in the UK, for those married to a British citizen the period is 5 years.
Our immigration team will always consider both your short term and long term goals.
If you are considering entering the UK as a Tier 1 (investor) it is important to be aware of the impact; of your proposed residence, as well as that of any family members in the UK; the investment; and, if you are thinking about it, any business or employment activities permitted in the UK may have on your tax liabilities - both personal and business - in the UK and overseas.
Knowing if you intend to become British citizens at the end of the process will also assist in tax planning.
Normally, a person that is tax resident in the UK suffers UK tax on their worldwide income and gains. There are some exceptions to this general rule, such as for certain people that are UK tax resident but are not domiciled in the UK
In addition to the implications on UK Tax Liability, there may be implications as a result of moving funds from one jurisdiction to the UK to be invested. In all cases, local legal and tax advice will need to be sought.
We have teams of experts in tax planning who work alongside our immigration team and can advise on the best way forward for you. You can read more about our tax planning services here.
Extending your stay as a Tier 1 (Investor)
Getting a Tier 1 (Investor) visa allow you to enter the UK and stay for an initial period of three years and four months to establish your business in the UK, if you meet the additional requirements you can extend your stay and after five years, if you meet the rest of the requirements then you can settle in the UK
In order to remain after your first three years on this visa you will need to meet all of the requirements to extend your visa, which includes having control over £2m and investing this into UK government Bonds or active and trading UK companies within three months of entering the UK or being granted leave to remain.
These requirements should be considered form the outset. It is important to plan for your investment as soon as you arrive in the UK, as delay could result in your extension visa being refused.
Settling in the UK as a Tier 1 (Investor)
After completing two, three or five years in the UK, depending on how much you have invested in line with the rules, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement).
There are, as you would expect, more requirements that you must satisfy, namely:
- Evidencing your investment remains compliant
- Meet the requirements in relations to absences form the UK
- Pass a life in the UK Test
- Pass an appropriate English language test
Once you have ILR you can remain in the UK indefinitely, though you remain subject to immigration control. You will always have to enter the UK as a ‘returning resident’. Generally speaking this means that you cannot be out of the UK for more than two years.
Once you have ILR you may then become eligible for British citizenship, this will however depend on the length of time that you have spent in the UK and your number of absences. All of this can be discussed in detail at a consultation.
How can we help you?
If you have the funds and are keen to invest in the UK we can assist. We will meet with you, either in person, over the phone or by Skype, to get a detailed understanding of what your needs are so that we can advise you on the best way forward for you and, if required, your family.
As well as helping you get a visa we can provide comprehensive legal advice across a broad range of sectors who can guide you through the process in the UK and ensure that your funds are invested in line with UKVI requirements.