A few years ago, an investment of £1m into the UK was enough to ensure a right of residence for the investor. Since November 2014 the required amount has been increased to £2m, but for those who already hold a Tier 1 (Investor) visa on the back of the original £1m route are still able to extend that visa or make the swap to indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
However, these £1m investors need to act swiftly if they want to secure their place in the UK.
Many of the people who made the £1m investment will have qualified for ILR due to the amount of time that has passed since the required amount has been increased. Yet, a significant portion will not have for a few possible reasons, such as:
- they have had excessive absences from the UK in the qualifying period for ILR (more than 180 days per year, or, since January 2018, 180 days in any 12-month period); and/or
- their English is not at an acceptable level; and/or
- they are under 65 and are unable to pass the Life in the UK test unless under any exceptional circumstances or with any physical or mental disability
Changes have been made to this visa route. There are now certain deadlines that these investors on the original £1m route must adhere to, and some factors that also affect those on the newer £2m route.
An application for extension for those on the £1m investor visa must happen before 6 April 2020.
To extend after that date, they would have to increase their investment to at least £2m.
If an application cannot be made in time because the investor does not meet the requirements, the investment will have to be increased to £2m.
So, the best thing to do is to apply for the extension ASAP and save having to increase your investment.
Money is not enough…
If the applicant does have to increase their investment, the time that they spent on the initial £1m visa route will not count towards the time needed for ILR.
They will only be able to qualify for ILR when they have also clocked up the relevant qualifying period starting from the date they increased their investment: five years if £2m, three years if £5m, two years if £10m).
What about government bonds?
In March 2019, government bonds (known to many as gilts) were removed as a qualifying investment for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa. This is part of the Home Office’s general aim to limit who this visa option is available to.
For anyone who entered the route before 29 March 2019 (not only those on the initial £1m route), extension applications where the investment still includes government bonds must be made before 6 April 2023. ILR applications relying on government bonds must be made before 6 April 2025.
Applications filed after the above dates that rely on government bonds held after those dates will be refused.
The investment must then be moved away from government bonds and into share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
Be sure of where you stand…
These new requirements will be easy for unsuspecting applicants to trip over. It is highly advisable to assess what you need to do if you are on the original £1m route or have invested in government bonds. You may need to increase or alternate your original investment, or you may need to take steps to ensure you meet the other requirements, such as amount of absences and your level of English.
Our team of specialist solicitors are here to help you every step of the way; with us there will be no more confusion about what to do next or worry about the state of your visa. We can handle extension applications as well as brand new applications for the Tier 1 investor visa.
Call now on 020 7928 0276 or email in to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tier 1 investor guidance: https://www.gov.uk/tier-1-investor