UK immigration – Proposed changes to the Tier 1 Investor Route
The Migration Advisory Committee provides regular reports to the UK government on immigration issues. Following the October 2013 report on the Economic Impact of the Tier 1 Investor Route, a report on the Investment Thresholds and Economic Benefits on the Tier 1 Route was published in late February. The aim of the report is to determine whether the current Tier 1 investment limits are appropriate and deliver significant economic benefits to the UK.
The Report made a number of recommendations and we summarise the principal proposals:
Minimum Investment Threshold:
The Committee recommends that the minimum investment threshold be increased from the present £1 million to £2 million and the present restrictions on permitted investments are relaxed to allow wider investment activity. Further, the current ‘topping up’ rule be removed so the requirement to provide quarterly valuations would be unnecessary.
The report also recommends that the option allowing the investment to be funded by a loan be scrapped.
It is hoped that the relaxation of these rules would increase investment activity and provide greater economic benefit to the UK.
The Committee found that the Premium Route was little used and, in preference to recommending its removal, recommended that the offer be enhanced. The proposed changes include:
- Residence requirements be relaxed, from the current 185 days to 90 days for applicants following this route;
- The price of the Premium Route would be fixed by auction with the applicants submitting a sealed bid. The Committee suggests that the number of visas issued should be limited to perhaps 100 a year;
- A reserve price should be established of £2.5 million, with at least £2 million invested in the UK and the remaining £0.5 million paid into to a ‘good causes fund’ to provide clear tangible benefits to existing UK residents.
- All applicants would continue to be obliged to satisfy the existing due diligence checks, even if their bid was suitable.
The Committee made no recommendations for changes to the Tier 1 accelerated route to citizenship or the residency requirements for dependants under the Premium Route.
The UK Government will consider the recommendations and any change to the present rules are unlikely to be introduced April 2014 at the earliest. Anyone currently considering submitting an application may wish to do so before the current minimum investment threshold is increased from the present £1 million.
For more information concerning the Tier 1 system see our news item at:
For further residence and immigration news for other jurisdictions see our briefing at: