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The UK Closes the Tier 1 Investor Visa Route

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced that the Tier 1 Investor Visa route was closed and everyone who had already acquired the visa would undergo checks. She accused the Tier 1 investors that through them, the British economy gets illegally sourced investments.

“I have zero tolerance for abuse of our immigration system. Under my #NewPlanForImmigration, I want to ensure the British people have confidence in the system, including stopping those who threaten our national security & push dirty money around our cities“, – tweeted Priti Patel.

From 17 February 2022, Tier 1 Investor Visa is closed for applicants of all nationalities. Those investors who have already obtained this type of visa will be able to extend it, apply for an indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and add their family members to the application according to the rules that were in force at the time the visa was issued.

Social media widely discuss the possibility that the visa was cancelled because of the growing tension with Russia sinch Russian rich investors apply for it. For example, The Times published the article with the title “UK scraps golden visas over Russian dirty money fears”.

At the same time, Russian businesspeople are not the largest group of the Tier 1 investors in the UK. From 2008 to 2021, only 18% of applications were submitted by Russian investors. Most investors come from China with 33% of applicants for the same period.

Surprisingly, the Home Secretary openly accuses investors in illegal activity, though since 2015, allapplicants for Tier 1 Investor Visa have to disclose their financial sources and confirm that they are legal. Thus, if there are some concerns about the sources of investment, it signifies that the British banks fail to conduct due diligence checks properly.

The British Government came to the same conclusion. On their official website, a neutral statement underlined that the whole procedure would be reformed to prevent abuse of the UK immigration system and stop people who make dirty money.

At the same time, the statement welcomes businesspeople who agree to follow the rules. They cannow apply for an Innovator visa. Unlike Tier 1 Investor Visa, under which you could just buy shares ofthe British companies, you will have to run a business yourself and prove that it is profitable.

To get an Innovator visa, you will also need to get approval of your business plan from an authorisedbody. Not all applicants succeed in this. At the same time, the minimum investment amount for anInnovator visa is lower than for a Tier 1 Investor Visa: £50,000 vs. £2,000,000, respectively.

Tier 1 investors were last inspected in 2018 to check the investment sources of people with the visasissued in the period from 2008 to 2015. It happened before mandatory due diligence checks were introduced. Now, it is still unclear whether those investors will have to undergo an inspection again.

Imperial & Legal advisors carefully monitor the situation and are always ready to provide their clients with the most recent updates about any changes in visa types and requirements and the current immigration reform.

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