On 6 December 2018, without warning, the Home Office wrongly announced the suspension of the Tier 1 investor visa scheme. However, the Home Office’s announcement was somewhat premature as other government departments opposed suspending the so called ‘golden visa.’ This UK visa has not been suspended.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:
The Tier 1 Investor visa scheme is only available for those with £2 million to invest. So very few people can afford this. Even if you can afford to come under this UK visa category it may be worth considering other visa categories such as Tier 1 entrepreneur or Tier 2 visa (only suitable if you own at most a small share of the UK employer).
One major change that will be of concern to many Tier 1 visa and Tier 2 visa applicants and employers with a Tier 2 sponsor licence, and those in many other UK visa categories, is the doubling of the Immigration Health Surcharge from £200 to £400 per year from Tuesday 8 January 2019.
Just days after announcing that the Tier 1 investor visa had been suspended, the Migration Policy team at the Home Office issued a statement, saying: “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 statement added.
Following the statement, Home Secretary Sajid Javid was forced to issue an apology for the shambles, but since the turn of the year, no new information has come to light. However, it’s understood that the Tier 1 investor visa scheme is currently undergoing a review amid alleged abuse of the system involving money laundering.
Tier 1 investor visa reforms
The latest from the Home Office, a written statement from Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes, is that Tier 1 investor visa reforms will be introduced in the spring of 2019.
Ms Nokes said: “We will ensure the UK remains a world-leading destination for investment and innovation. We will shortly be publishing a Statement of Intent setting out the details of how the reformed routes will work and I will place a copy in the House Library.”
Following the unexpected announcement on 6 December, the Home Office has remained tight-lipped over the debacle and has repeatedly ignored requests for clarification over the status of the Tier 1 investor visa scheme.
The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) slammed the fiasco, accusing the Home Office of ‘making a mockery of the principles of certainty and stability inherent in the rule of law.’
The ILPA condemned the Home Office for acting recklessly, saying: “While it is good news for applicants that the visa has not been suspended, the Home Office’s handling of this has been reckless to say the least.”
“It is extremely important to the integrity of the UK’s immigration system that any changes made to key immigration routes are made formally and with sufficient notice,” the ILPA added.
Meanwhile, it’s still not clear whether the so-called golden visa will be suspended while reforms take place, but Whitehall sources claim that “it remains an objective of the Home Office to suspend the so-called gold-plated visa pending reforms in 2019.”
Sources inside Whitehall are speculating that reforms will include the removal of government bonds from the list of acceptable investments. Instead, applicants will be required to invest in active and trading UK companies and be able to provide comprehensive audit trails showing where the money came from.
2018 a bad year for the Tier 1 investor visa
Throughout 2018, the Tier 1 investor visa hit the headlines as applicant numbers dwindled amid more stringent UK immigration restrictions, while reports of money laundering and financial crime plagued the beleaguered scheme.
Even before the decision to ‘suspend’ the Tier 1 investor visa a number of investment related companies had decided that they did not wish to continue to be involved in the scheme.
Meanwhile, earlier in 2018, a number of high-profile millionaire and billionaire Russian investors – including Chelsea Football Club owner, Roman Abramovich – were subject to a Tier 1 investor visa investigation, as the UK Home Office sought to clampdown on ‘dirty money’ being used to fund investments.
Following the Tier 1 investor visa debacle in December, the Home Office has been heavily criticised for a lack of transparency, especially when individuals and businesses alike already face continued uncertainty over Brexit.
Further information, help, and advice for Tier 1 Visa and other UK visa schemes
Workpermit.com’s team of specialists has 30 years of experience in immigration services, and has helped thousands of people to study, work, invest and live in the UK. We represent clients under Section 84 of the 1999 Immigration Act, and we can advise and assist with your UK visa application.