A few days after the publication in the UK media of a false information regarding the suspension of the Tier 1 Investor category, the news was immediately disproved in order to reassure migrants about the validity of the immigration category. On 11 December 2018, the Migration Policy team at the Home Office rectified by officially stating: “The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended. However, the Government remains committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course. Any suspension would be implemented through changes to the Immigration Rules.”
The Tier 1 Investor visa category was never suspended; however, by virtue of the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC1919 published in March 2019, it was slightly amended in order to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes intrinsically connected to this visa route.
Tier 1 Investor route is particularly designed for non-European national who want to enter the UK in order to invest at least £2 million. Migrants applying under this category are not required to prove English knowledge nor are they requested to show maintenance funds; they are allowed to work and engage in business activities and they are free to bring family members to the UK. After a continuous period of 5 years, migrants are allowed to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. On exceptional circumstances, they will be allowed to apply for Accelerated settlement after 2 or 3 years if they invested respectively 10 or 5 million.
From 29 March 2019 investors are required to demonstrate that they have held the 2mil for two years instead of 90 days prior to the date of the application. The requirement to open a UK bank account before applying for an investor visa “is being tightened to make explicit that the bank must carry out all required due diligence checks and Know Your Customer enquiries, and confirm that these have been done”.
Applicants are no longer allowed to use purchase of UK government bonds as a qualifying investment.
For those currently holding an investor visa, transitional arrangements will be in force until 5 April 2023 for extension applications and 5 April 2025 for ILR applications.