Tier 1 Investors need a UK investment account before applying for their initial visa

26 February 2015

The Government today announced significant changes to the Immigration Rules affecting Tier 1 Investors and Entrepreneurs, which are due to come into force on 6th April 2015.

For Tier 1 Investors, the changes include:

  • A new requirement for Tier 1 Investors to open a UK regulated investment account before first applying for leave in this category. Our immigration team has been advising wealth managers that this was a likely change which has been anticipated for some time. We have also been advising clients that they ought to consider opening an account prior to obtaining the initial leave (to enter or remain) as a Tier 1 Investor to ease the pressure of opening an account and investing their funds within three months of entry to the UK. This change will now require most applicants to travel to the UK as a visitor in advance of making their respective application so they can meet with wealth managers and arrange for an account to be opened. Our team can of course assist with obtaining visit visas where necessary to enable these pre-application visits.
  • Raising the minimum age for main applicants from 16 to 18.
  • Clarifications to the topping up provisions. These amendments follow a period of consultation with the Home Office policy team, which we have been actively involved in, to ensure the Rules are clear and easily understood. Investors will no longer need to ‘top up’ their portfolios if they drop below £2million due to the sale of an investment at a loss. However, investors will need to re-invest gross proceeds of all sales, including those made at a gain, into qualifying investments in the portfolio.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur category is also subject to a number of changes, one of the most significant being the extension of the ‘genuineness’ test to extensions and indefinite leave to remain applications, as well as initial applications for entry into this category.

These changes are set to come into force on 6th April 2015. For further information on these and other changes announced today, please contact a member of our immigration team, who would be happy to discuss further.

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