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11 December 2018

Home Office backtracks on Tier 1 Investor Visa suspension

It was widely reported that the UK Government would suspend the Tier 1 Investor visa programme from midnight on Thursday 6 December.

The Home Office today confirmed that the suspension has not taken place and the category remains open for now. However, the Home Office has said it remains committed to reforming the route and a further announcement will be made in due course. Any suspension should be implemented through changes to the Immigration Rules which should provide a few weeks’ notice before the suspension takes effect.

  • Those investors already in the scheme or those who have applied before the suspension should not be affected. This means that anyone about to apply would need to submit their application before the suspension.
  • We believe the backtracking is due to representations we, other  firms and stakeholders made to the Home Office about the lawfulness of suspending a scheme without notice.
  • Once the suspension takes effect it is likely to remain in place until changes are made to the Immigration Rules which may not be until sometime later next year. Changes to the Immigration Rules are often introduced in the Spring.

Changes could include:

  • Assessment of source of funds by independent and regulated auditors
  • Control of funds checked by auditors to ensure the investor has had control of the funds for 2 years
  • No investments in UK government bonds
  • Possible restriction on qualifying investments and only investments in UK registered active and trading companies
  • Some pooled investments may be allowed

It would however, be difficult to impose changes in investments on investors already in the category and is likely to affect new applicants entering the scheme for the first time.

Action

Existing Tier 1 Investors or those who have made their applications before the suspension  are not required to take any action but should seek legal advice as to their position following any changes. Investors who are about to apply should seek legal advice as to whether their application can be submitted before the suspension takes place.  At the moment there is no indication from the Home Office as to when the suspension will take place but it could be within the next few weeks.


For more information, please contact Rose Carey.

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