The Home Office has today released a Statement of Changes to be laid before parliament which proposes the following changes to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa category:
- Investors will be required to provide evidence that they have been in control of the investment funds for at least the last two years, rather than 90 days.
- UK banks must confirm that the required due diligence and Know your Customer checks have been completed before opening an investment account.
- Government bonds will no longer be a permissible investment under the Tier 1 (Investor) visa.
- A new provision is being made to allow investment in pooled investments which also receive funding from a UK or devolved government department or one of its agencies, such as the British Business Bank or the Scottish Investment Bank, as such vehicles are a benefit to the UK economy. Other types of pooled investment are still excluded.
- The "price of the investment" is being defined as the price the applicant paid for the investments.
- To increase transparency, the rules around the use of intermediary vehicles are being tightened to require any intermediary vehicle to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Additionally, it will be necessary to provide evidence of the final investment destination and how the funds have been transferred there.
- The rules are being tightened regarding investment in companies and the definition of an "active and trading" company is being strengthened. This will include requiring the company to be registered with Companies House; requiring it to be registered with HM Revenue and Customs for corporation tax; having accounts and a UK business bank account showing regular trading of its own goods or services; and having at least two UK-based employees who are not its directors.
The changes are being made to provide greater assurance of the provenance of applicants’ funds and to incentivise Tier 1 (Investors) to make investments which are of a greater benefit to the UK economy.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Immigration team at Mishcon de Reya if you have any questions in relation to the proposed changes.