The UK’s Golden Ticket Visa – The Tier 1 Investor Visa

According to official Home Office statistics, the number of wealthy foreigners who are entering the UK with a Tier 1 Investor Visa has risen considerably this year (2019), which represents the largest increase since 2014 for this demographic.  

The best immigration lawyers UK confirm that the Tier 1 Investor Visa is an entry route to the UK which allows those who have a minimum of £2 million investment funds to apply. If the application is successful, the applicant will gain 3 years of entry clearance into the country and can extend this if all relevant criteria are met. After 5 years in the UK, the applicant can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) which means permanent residence and can continue to live here for the long term, making the UK their primary place of residence. 

Tier 1 Investor Visa applications can also be fast-tracked depending on how much money the applicant wants to invest in the UK. For example, if someone invests £10 million they can receive ILR after only 2 years and if they invest £5 million they can receive it after 3 years.

The visa category is referred to as the “Golden Ticket Visa” and has been criticised by many as being a gateway for people who have enough money but “do not play by the rules” to abuse the UK immigration system, live in the country comfortably for 5 years and then achieve the status of Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

In the first half of 2019 alone, 255 people were granted Tier 1 Investor Visas which has been the highest amount in a six month period since 2014 according to Home Office official statistics. Anti Corruption campaigners have raised concerns that the Tier 1 Investor Visa is a way that the UK sells citizenship to privileged but not necessarily “good” people and have raised the question that after Brexit, will the UK pick up the rich and wealthy customers that EU member states reject? The Home Office has counteracted such statements by saying that all applicants are vetted appropriately and those who have managed to obtain a Tier 1 Investor Visa have done so on their own credible merits. 

Since its creation in 2008, 11,000 people have entered the UK on a Tier 1 Investor Visa and most of these people have been from Russia and China. Moreover, many financial advisors, lawyers and civil servants state that the rise of applications, specifically in 2019, is linked to the drop in the value of the GBP which does make sense in the light of the complicated and yet ongoing Brexit negotiations. The drop in GBP has, in effect, made school fees and general life cheaper and as a Tier 1 Visa applicant gets to also bring their dependent family members with them to the UK, if they are successful, it is almost a no brainer for many who can afford to do so as getting this visa would allow themselves and their families to live and work in the UK and also for their children to not only be raised in the UK but also to go to school there.

Considered as one of the most secure ways of getting into the UK, the Tier 1 Investor Visa application process requires that you:

  • Are over the age of 18 
  • Able to prove that the money belongs to you or your husband, wife, unmarried or same-sex partner
  • Have opened an account at a UK regulated bank to use for your funds

Furthermore, your funds must be:

  • Held in one or more regulated financial institutions
  • Free to spend (‘disposable’) in the UK

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