The new Tier 1 (Investor) visa rules became effective from 6 November 2014. Although the minimum investment level was raised from GBP 1 million to GBP 2 million, the range of permissible investments has been broadened to include investment of the entire £2m by way of equity or loan capital in active and trading UK companies. This makes the Investor visa scheme much more attractive to many overseas businesspersons who would like to create a long term asset base in the UK by encouraging the growth of “active” trading companies in the UK.
Case Study (hypothetical example):
Mikhail K is a Russian businessman who is looking to diversify and de-risk his asset base given the current economic volatility in that part of the world. Mikhail currently holds more than £2m in a Swiss bank account. Mikhail is interested in the Tier 1 visa scheme so the entire family can come and live in the UK and eventually qualify for British citizenship. However, because this visa scheme requires 182 days residence per year in the UK during the qualifying period, Mikhail’s wife Olga becomes the main applicant. Mikhail still qualifies for the visa by virtue of being Olga’s “dependent”.
The £2m funds can be held solely or jointly by the spouses and the funds can remain outside the UK at the time of the application provided a letter is obtained from the Swiss regulated bank that the funds are freely transferable. Olga’s initial application under the Tier 1 Investor visa is successful (the processing time is roughly 4 to 6 weeks) and leave to enter the UK is granted for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months. Olga travels to the UK with the children and Mikhail joins them during holidays as and when he can subject to his business commitments in Russia. The visa condition is that the £2m must be invested in the equity shares or loan capital of a UK trading company. There are many opportunities to invest in such eligible UK companies and suitable investments can be arranged easily.
After 3 years the visa may be extended for a further 2 years after which the family is eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. Following shortly after that Mikhail and his family will qualify for British Citizenship.
If Mikhail invests £5m instead of £2m the waiting time for ILR is cut from 5 years to 3 years. If the investment is £10m or more the qualification time drops to just 2 years. There is no English language test required for Mikhail or his family.
The Investor visa route is an easy way for wealthy foreign families to take up immediate residence in the UK, qualify for UK citizenship in due course, educate their children in top schools here and shift their vital business and economic interests to a safe, stable and culturally rich environment.
For more details regarding the Investor visa scheme and investments in UK trading companies please contact RKG Consulting. We are licensed by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner to provide immigration advice and services.
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