India to UK Immigration – A Relationship Steeped in History and United in Opportunity
By Nagesh Jain & Oshin Shahiean of OTS Solicitors
Britain and India have a unique relationship, based on centuries of history, an admiration of each other’s culture, and mutual economic benefits.
For hundreds of years, India and Britain have enjoyed a special trading relationship, providing wealth and opportunity for both countries. Now India is the seventh-largest economy in the world, with a young population, growing service sector with an annual growth rate of above 9% since 2001, and a healthy savings rate.
Britain offers Indian nationals a strong, stable economy with free access to the European market. IT exports are a one of the fastest growing market sectors in India; basing a factory in the UK provides a base for exporting to the whole of the EU. Because the EU single market removes the expense of overcoming regulatory barriers, technology-based start-ups in the UK have a market of around 500 million people who they can export to with little cost.
Access to the UK
For Indian nationals who wish to come to the UK to work, invest or set up a business, there are a number of entry routes open to them including:
Over the coming weeks we will be discussing each of these visas in depth. However, it is helpful to have a summary of all the visa options available and their eligibility requirements as a quick, introductory guide.
The UK Tier One Investor Visa is designed to provide high-net-worth individuals wishing to invest considerable sums in the UK, attractive and easy access to the country. The visa has many benefits including the ability to buy a family home straight away, bring family with you and an accelerated route to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship (depending on the amount invested).
Regardless of whether the applicant is outside the UK or has an existing visa and wants to switch, he or she must have:
- At least £2 million available to be invested in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. The £2 million cannot be invested in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development.
- The investment funds must belong either to the applicant or his or her spouse and this must be proved in terms of the amount of money and where it is held.
- The source of the funds must be provided if they have been held for less than three months. The funds must be disposable, held in a regulated financial institution and a UK bank account must have been opened.
Entrepreneurship is booming in India and the country is now ranked as the fourth largest start-up hub in the world. To qualify for a UK Entrepreneur Visa, an applicant must show:
- access to either £50,000 or £200,000 in investment funds held in a regulated financial institution
- they speak English
- they are able to support themselves
- they can pass the ‘genuine entrepreneur test’
Access to £50,000
To apply, the £50,000 must come from one of the following sources:
- a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)
- a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business
- a venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Access to £200,000
Having £200,000 provides more flexibility as to the source of the funds. To apply the money must be either:
- the applicants own funds
- made available to the applicant by other people (‘third parties’), e.g. a husband, wife, partner or investor
- in a joint account with a spouse or partner but only if they aren’t applying for a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa
A clear, comprehensive business plan must be presented when applying for a UK Entrepreneur Visa.
Dependent family members (a spouse and children under 18 years) are entitled to accompany an entrepreneur but they must acquire their own visa if they are Indian nationals.
UK Tier 2 (General) Visa
If you wish to come to Britain to work you will need to apply for a UK work visa, known as a Tier 2 (General) visa.
To be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa you must have:
- an offer of a job from an employer who holds a Certificate of Sponsorship Licence
- an salary of £20,800 or more
- the required level of English
You must also have £945 in savings to show you can support yourself and this must be in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, unless you’re exempt.
UK spouse visa
To be eligible for a UK spouse visa you must:
- be legally married to each other or in a civil relationship that the UK recognises
- be at least 18 years old
- your partner must be present and settled in the UK or relocating with you to the UK
- have met each other on a prior instance (this is to prevent arranged marriages)
- intend to live as husband & wife / indefinitely
- show you can support yourselves and dependants without recourse to public funds
- prove you have suitable accommodation
- show you can speak and understand English
- meet the financial criteria
The financial criteria
The person who is sponsoring you must be ‘settled’ in the UK, (meaning they have Indefinite Leave to Remain or citizenship), and must earn a minimum of £18,600 per annum to bring you into the country to live with them.
If they are sponsoring a child as well as you, they will need an income of at least £22,400. For each additional child being sponsored, an additional £2,400 must be available.
If you are working in the UK, you will need to pay income tax and National Insurance payments. This will be done by your employer. If you are a business owner you will need to pay corporation tax, and investors will need to pay tax on their investments.
Tax obligations in India
You will not be treated as an Indian resident unless:
- you live in India for 182 days or more per year; or
- you have lived in India for 60 days during the current year and 365 days during the preceding four years
Non-residents are taxed only on income that is received in India or arises or is deemed to arise in India. Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are not required to file a tax return if their income consists of only interest and dividends, provided taxes due on such income are deducted at source.
Expert, innovative legal advice
If you are planning to relocate to Britain, engaging a local solicitor who specialises in Immigration and commercial law in the UK and understands the laws and culture of India will assist you in gaining your visa quickly and without hassle.
OTS Solicitors has a strong reputation for being one of the best Immigration law firms in the UK and we have years of experience advising Indian nationals on various visas that will allow them to work and/or invest in Britain. You can make an appointment with one of our experienced Immigration solicitors by phoning our London office on + 440203 959 9123. We can to arrange Skype calls if you are currently based in India.
Our expert Immigration lawyers look forward to hearing more about how we can assist you with your visa application.