|March 3, 2014|
Previously published on February 26, 2014
Foreign nationals would be required to invest at least £2 million to qualify for the Tier 1 (Investor) program, up from the current £1 million, under recently released recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The MAC - the UK’s independent advisor on migration issues - also recommends easing permissible investment instrument rules and reporting requirements, among other changes.
Many of the MAC’s recommendations seek to steer potential Tier 1 participants away from investing in government bonds, because the MAC found that these investments had minimal economic benefit to the UK. The MAC suggests limiting the proportion of funds that could be invested in government bonds or eliminating the bonds as an approved instrument altogether. To further discourage investors from choosing government bonds, the MAC proposes adding venture capital schemes, angel investments and infrastructure project bonds to the list of permissible investment instruments, and allowing combined investments, such as pooled funds and government operated investment funds. Also eliminated would be a rule that requires Tier 1 investors to top-up their investments throughout their period of stay.
The MAC advises to scale back government reporting requirements for Tier 1 investors to facilitate greater investment in private companies. The use of loaned funds to meet investment thresholds would be prohibited under the recommendations.
Current programs that allow Tier 1 investors to obtain permanent residence on an accelerated basis would be replaced with an auction-based premium service option. Tier 1 participants could bid for one of 100 permanent residence visas that benefit from a reduced residence requirement per year, under the proposed program.
What This Means for Foreign Investors
There are no immediate changes to the Tier 1 (Investor) program.
The Home Office is now considering the MAC’s recommendations, which will likely carry significant influence in any upcoming amendments to the Tier 1 (Investor) program, though the recommendations are not binding. In the past, the Home Office has acted on MAC proposals in one to three months.