By Mandeep Khroud, Senior Associate Solicitor, Tax, Trusts and Estates
Immigration rules have been changed at very short notice.
The Tier 1 (Investor) category, which gave permanent residence in the UK after five years and £2 million investment in the UK economy, was removed entirely.
There had been concerns that the investor route was open to abuse and a cover for financial crime, so much so that the rules were updated a number of times, tightening requirements for applicants. It appears that these concerns persisted, despite attempts to ensure financial and due diligence checks on applicants.
It’s not unusual for immigration categories to be removed, reworked and replaced with something similar.
In fact, the Home Office already confirmed that the government intends to make alternative provisions for investment-related migration, although it won’t deliver these new plans until Autumn this year.
New investment visa options
It’s been mentioned that these investment visa options will be added to the existing immigration category – the innovator route. This allows individuals with innovative business ideas to set up a company in the UK.
The innovator route has a very high threshold, with businesses needing to obtain endorsement for their business idea from a registered body to apply.
It will be interesting to see if the expansion to the innovator route will come with a comparably high threshold for migrants who wish to invest.
The Home Office has said that a prior history of overseas investment and credible plans to engage in investment in the UK will be necessary. But the levels of these prior investment, and whether the ‘credible plans’ will have to be endorsed as they do for an innovator visa application, is yet to be confirmed.