High Priority

What is the immigration news? In response to widespread media reports last week that the Home Office has suspended Tier 1 Investor visas, the agency issued a new press statement via email Tuesday that “The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended, however we remain committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course.”

Foreign nationals intending to apply under this route should be able to continue to lodge applications under current rules.

  • Status: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 1 (Investor) visas.
  • Impact on business: For now, it appears that the Home Office will continue to accept and process new applications under this route.
  • What to watch: Applicants for Tier 1 (Investor) visas should anticipate stricter rules sometime in 2019.

Additional information: Last Thursday, multiple news organizations including the BBC, the Guardian and the London Times reported on the basis of a press statement from the Home Office that the Tier 1 (Investor) visa category would be suspended with immediate effect owing to concerns about abuse and money laundering in the program. Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes issued a written statement to parliament the same day indicating the Home Office’s intent to introduce reforms to the Tier 1 (Investor) program in spring 2019.

The Tier 1 (Investor) category provides visas and a path to permanent residency to foreign nationals who demonstrate a minimum investment of £2 million. Currently, applicants may meet the investment thresholds through holdings in a regulated financial institution in the U.K. or overseas for 90 days before the application, or if the funds were already invested in the U.K., through holdings in U.K. government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading companies registered in the U.K.

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals seeking to apply under the Tier 1 (Investor) route should be aware that changes are forthcoming and are likely to tighten the eligibility criteria, which could include removing holdings in U.K. government bonds as a qualifying investment and the possibility of applicants needing to demonstrate that their business investments have been audited.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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