Home Office tightens the Tier 1 Investor visa requirements
On 7 March 2019 the UK government has brought forward a number of changes to the Immigration Rules.
The Home Office is also bringing forward reforms to the Tier 1 (Investor) route. The reformed route will better protect the UK from illegally obtained funds, whilst ensuring that genuine investors have access to a viable visa route. Applicants will be required to prove that they have had control of the required GBP 2 million for at least two years, rather than 90 days, or provide evidence of the source of those funds. The applicant will be also required to have investments in UK businesses, excluding investments in gilts.
The reformed scheme will be operational from 29 March.
The Home Office has announced that two new visa routes, the startup visa and the innovator route, will also take effect from 29 March. The startup visa will be open to those starting a business for the first time in the UK, replacing the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route. The rules will provide skilled business people access to two new visa routes to set up businesses in the UK. The Start-up visa route will be open to those starting a business for the first time in the UK, while the Innovator visa route will be for more experienced business people who have funds to invest in their business. It will apply for people of any background, not just graduates, and they will have double the amount of time, two years, to make their business a success before they need to make a further application. The Innovator route will be for more experienced business people who have GBP 50,000 to invest in their business, down from the GBP 200,000 required under the previous scheme.
Both routes will see endorsing bodies and business experts – rather than the Home Office – assessing applicants’ business ideas. This will make sure that the routes are focused on only the most innovative, viable and scalable businesses.