Our Opinion: 2014

UK Investor Visa shake up

About 600 migrants a year come to the UK, under the Tier 1 Investor Visa scheme, whereby those with £1m to invest are awarded UK residency after five years, This falls to three years for those with £5m and to two years for those with £10m.

Knightsbridge Wealth is one of the leaders in advising clients all over the world, seeking the security of residency in a ‘safe haven.’ Environment.

The UK’s Migration Advisory Service has been reviewing the scheme and has now made its recommendations to Ministers.

The Committee has recommended that the £1m option is increased to £2m, and that the £5m and £10m options are scrapped altogether.  It also notes that the majority of those applying for the scheme choose not to invest in UK Corporate Bonds or UK equities but, instead, buy Government Gilts. These provide little benefit to the UK economy and it recommends that the option to invest in them be withdrawn.

Currently, investors need to evidence that the market value of their investment continuously remains above £1m. In the event of a fall, the investment needs to be topped up. Investors find this nerve-wracking and the committee recommends that this requirement be stopped. As long as the required amount is invested, any market fluctuations will not require a top up. That should make investors more comfortable with risk assets that, whilst likely to give superior returns, also have greater market fluctuations.

It also proposes a new ‘premium’ service that will achieve residency in three years. Applicants would still need to invest £2m, but will also need to give £500,000 to a good cause fund. Applicants would need to make a ‘sealed bid’ advising how much they intend to give to the good causes fund (which will be gifted to charities, schools and hospitals). Those with the top 100 bids will be accepted in this auction style system. Those accepted will only need to spend three months a year in the UK to secure residency, whilst those on the £2m route will still need to stay six months to be confident of a successful application.

Ministers will now decide whether to implement the recommendations or not, and implementation is being considered for April.