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27 April 2022

Relocating to the UK – Post Tier 1 (Investor)

The UK government closed the Tier 1 Investor visa route with immediate effect on 17 February 2022. Those who already hold a Tier 1 (Investor) visa can remain in the UK, and will be able to submit extension applications before 17 February 2026 and settlement applications before 17 February 2028.

The UK government intends to make changes in Autumn 2022 to the Innovator visa route to facilitate investment-related migration for those who have a track record of overseas investment activity and whose UK investment will bring tangible benefits to the UK economy. In the meantime there are a number of existing immigration routes which may be suitable should you wish to relocate to the UK.

Our award-winning immigration practice is highly ranked in legal directories and is known in the market as being well established and able to provide a full service for your personal and business needs.

Current alternative options

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Skilled Worker visa
It is possible for a company in the UK to apply for a Home Office Sponsor Licence to sponsor migrant workers. This can include the owner of a business, and apply to both start-up and established companies.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  • Have been assigned a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer
  • Have been offered a job that is on the approved list of eligible occupations
  • Meet the minimum level B1 English language requirement
  • Be paid in accordance with the minimum salary levels.

Your visa can be granted for up to 5 years. You may be eligible for settlement after 5 years.

Start-Up and Innovator visa
The Start-Up and Innovator visa route can be used by entrepreneurs who wish to establish a new business in the UK. Applicants must show that they have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by a Home Office approved endorsing body.

To meet the requirements of this visa route, you must:

  • Have an unique and original business idea
  • Receive an endorsement from an approved endorsing body
  • For Innovator visa applicants, demonstrate that you have funding to invest in your business (subject to some exceptions)
  • Meet the minimum level B2 English language requirement

A Start-Up visa is granted for 2 years with a possibility of transitioning to an Innovator visa. An Innovator visa is granted for 3 years, and an extension of a further 3 years or accelerated settlement is possible if the business meets certain performance conditions. These can include job creation, revenue generation and innovation.

Global Talent visa
The Global Talent visa route is open to individuals who are a leader, or a potential leader, in one of the following fields:

  • Academia or research
  • Arts and culture
  • Digital technology

Applicants must either be endorsed by a Home Office approved endorsing body or have won an eligible award in the applicable field.

Your first visa can be granted for up to 5 years. You may qualify for settlement in the UK after 3 or 5 years depending on your endorsement.

Global Business Mobility visa

The new Global Business Mobility route includes the UK Expansion Worker category, which replaces the Sole Representative visa route from 11 April 2022. There is also the Senior or Specialist Worker category which does not have an English language requirement.

There is no limit on the shareholding of a worker coming to the UK, therefore business founders who have more than a 50% shareholding could be eligible to apply.

Applicants must be sponsored before they can apply, meaning that the UK entity will need to hold a Home Office Sponsor Licence. It is important to note that in most cases individuals must have been employed overseas for a 12 month period before making their application, unless their annual gross salary is more than £73,900.

The Global Business Mobility visa is not a route to settlement, but it may be possible to switch to an alternative route which leads to settlement once you are resident in the UK.

Other visa options

Other visa categories, such as family or study related visas, may also be available to you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch and so that we can advise on the full range of UK immigration options.

Dependant family members

All of the above visa categories can include a person’s spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, together with children who are under the age of 18.

Immigration changes on the horizon

A reformed Innovator visa (Autumn 2022)
The Home Office have announced that the replacement for the Tier 1 (Investor) visa will be delivered through reforms to the existing Innovator route in Autumn 2022. This route will focus on skills and active investment plans, rather than passive investments.

An opportunity for settlement through this reformed route may be conditional on applicants demonstrating evidence of job creation through their economic activity in the UK.

Further details are due to be released prior to its proposed launch in Autumn 2022.

High potential individual (30 May 2022)
The High Potential Individual visa route will be available to recent graduates of top global universities who wish to live and work in the UK. The visa is aimed at the highly skilled and academically elite who in the last 5 years have been awarded an overseas degree level qualification from a university which appears on the Global Universities List published by the Home Office.

Those who hold a High Potential Individual visa will be eligible to come to the UK to work or be self-employed, without the need for sponsorship.

This route is not a route to settlement, but you may be able to switch to a visa category which leads to settlement once you are resident in the UK.

How can we help?

Our immigration team are experienced in preparing successful applications under all UK immigration routes and we are well prepared to deal with future changes. The alternative routes may not be as straight-forward as the investor route, requiring additional planning such as setting up a UK company. Our fullservice offering allows us to advise on immigration matters alongside wider considerations, including tax planning and company secretarial services.

We would be pleased to assist with your UK immigration needs. Should you wish to discuss your options, please contact Rose Carey or Kelvin Tanner, or your usual Charles Russell Speechlys contact.

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