Tier 1 Investor Visa: Immediate Considerations & Long-Term Planning
April 4, 2023
By: Alisa Bartholdy
On 17 February 2022, the Tier 1 Investor Route closed to new applicants. However, if you have already been granted leave as a Tier 1 Investor, you may remain on this route through to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, provided you meet the various deadlines detailed below.
All Tier 1 Investor visa holders
All applications for ILR as a Tier 1 Investor must be submitted before 17 February 2028.
If you are relying on investments made in Government bonds
Tier 1 Investor applicants who entered the route before 28 March 2019 have been permitted to make qualifying investments in UK Government bonds. If your investment portfolio contains, in whole or in part, UK Government bonds and you wish to extend your Investor status, the application deadline is 6 April 2023.
If you wish to apply for an extension after 6 April 2023, investments in UK Government bonds must be replaced with investments in share or loan capital in UK-qualifying companies before 6 April 2023. Any investments in government bonds held after 6 April 2023 cannot be used as a qualifying investment to support an extension application made after that date – and the Home Office is unlikely to exercise discretion in favour of anyone falling into this category – so it is important to get this right.
If you were first granted leave as a Tier 1 Investor before 28 March 2019 and you are looking to apply for ILR - and to rely on your investment in UK Government bonds to qualify - the application must be submitted before 6 April 2025. If an ILR application is made after this date but before the 17 February 2028 long-stop deadline, you will not be able to rely on investments in UK Government bonds as a qualifying investment after 6 April 2025.
The residence requirements
Tier 1 Investor visa holders who have not yet begun to meet the residence requirements required to progress to ILR have a closing window in which to do so. Those who are investing at least GBP 2 million will be on a five-year route to settlement, and all applications for settlement must be made no later than 17 February 2028. To qualify you must spend a continuous five-year period of residence in the UK with absences of no more than 180 days in any rolling 12-month period, within that continuous period of residence.
This means that those on a five-year route to settlement must begin to meet the residence requirements from now onwards, in order to qualify for settlement before the February 2028 deadline. An alternative option for those who may struggle to meet the five-year continuous residence requirement is to increase their investment to GBP 5 million or GBP 10 million. These routes only require a continuous residence period of three or two years respectively. Importantly, it is only the main applicant who can benefit from this accelerated route to settlement – dependant family members must complete the five-year residence requirement.
For those wishing to move their investments from government bonds to share or loan capital in UK companies, corporate bonds are typically the solution. This is more flexible than it may first look. Many FTSE 100 companies issue bonds in USD or EUR. These bonds do not have to be denominated in GBP to qualify, provided they are loan capital in a qualifying UK company. Coupon payments (interest) can also be withdrawn from the portfolio provided they were accrued after the date on which the bond was purchased. Where the purchase price included a payment for accrued interest up to that date, this cost cannot be withdrawn from the portfolio.
A detailed analysis of your immigration history and investments for compliance with the immigration rules by one of Fragomen’s experienced immigration lawyers can help you understand if you will be affected by the new deadlines and the optimal time for you to apply.
Need to know more?
For further information on the Investor route, or if you are concerned about whether you will meet the requirements for ILR, please contact Managers Alisa Bartholdy and Alex Hood at [email protected] and [email protected], respectively, or Paralegal Huma Malik at [email protected].
This blog was published on 4 April 2023, and due to the circumstances, there are frequent changes. To keep up to date with all the latest updates on global immigration, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 site, subscribe to our alerts and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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