Today, 16 October 2014 the much anticipated Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, modifying the Tier 1 Investor category, was laid before Parliament. The changes will come into force on 6 November 2014.
The key changes are:
- the minimum investment sum required will be raised to £2 million (currently £1 million). This will only affect those who submit their applications on or after 6 November 2014 (those granted leave to enter/remain under the previous Rules can continue to rely on the £1 million investment level). New applicants who wish to rely on £1 million must ensure that their applications are submitted by 5 November 2014.
- the requirement to 'top- up' the investment if its value drops below the prescribed level due to fluctuations in market value will be removed. This is intended in part to encourage investors to invest in higher risk investments which may be more beneficial to the UK economy, without jeopardising their immigration status if the value of those investments falls. However investors must remember that the requirement to maintain the investment remains firmly in place - investors cannot withdraw investment funds if this causes the total value of the investments to fall below the threshold level. It may be considered to be something of a missed opportunity by the Home Office that this change will only apply to new investors applying on or after 6 November 2014.
- the option to rely on loaned funds will be removed.
- under current Rules an Investor is required to invest 75% of the funds in prescribed forms of investment (UK government bonds or share/loan capital in active trading UK registered companies) and the remainder may be held in the UK in a wider range of holdings (including cash on deposit and the unmortgaged portion of the Investor's own home). This distinction between the main investment funds and the balance of funds will be removed, requiring all the money to be invested in the prescribed investments. This will have a more significant impact for those investing at the £5 million and £10 million levels (for accelerated indefinite leave to remain) affecting £1.75 to £2.5 million of their funds.
- a new power to refuse applications (even where all criteria have been met) will apply when the Home Office has reasonable grounds to believe that:
- the applicant does not genuinely have control of the funds;
- the funds have been obtained by means of unlawful conduct; or
- the funds have been made available to the applicant by a third party whose "character, conduct or associations" are such that approval of the application would not be conducive to the public good.
In addition to the changes made today, the Home Office will be undertaking an informal consultation on the future of the investor category, in which LDS will participate.
The Statement of Changes covers many other aspects of the Immigration Rules; this briefing summarises only the principal changes for Investors. For further information on the changes and our services, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.