UK has Scrapped Golden Investor Visas
The latest immigration news is that the UK government have scrapped the investor visa, otherwise known as ‘Golden Visas’. The nickname comes from applicants needing an investment of at least £2 million to meet the eligibility criteria for an investor visa. Over recent months the investor visa has become the subject of criticism in the media as the investor visa is seen as a means for high-net-worth individuals to ‘pay for UK entry clearance’ with the investor visa potentially leading on to an application for accelerated indefinite leave to remain and then British citizenship.
UK Online and London Immigration Solicitors
The end of the investor visa – do you need urgent immigration legal advice?
If you are contemplating making an investor visa application ,or you are in the UK on an investor visa and anticipate making an indefinite leave to remain application as you meet the current ILR residence requirements, call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 for urgent legal advice.
Why is the investor visa being scrapped now?
Immigration solicitors suspect that the planned government announcement about the scrapping of the UK investor visa route is all about politics. In recent weeks, with the Ukraine crisis, there has been increasing talk of visas and ultimately British citizenship being ‘for sale’ to Russian citizens and other nationals.
Since the investor visa was introduced by the government in 2008 it has not been without controversy because of the perceived link between cash and immigration status. Perceptions have not been helped by recent news of the police investigation into cash and honours, as there was reference to support being given to an application for British citizenship because of the generosity of charitable donations by a foreign national.
The scrapping of the UK investor visa does not sit easily with the government commitment to open up the UK to foreign investment as the investor visa offers a flexible way for high-net-worth individuals to move to live in the UK and ultimately settle in the UK in consideration for investment in the UK economy.
What are the alternate visa routes for those looking to move to the UK?
There are many alternate visa routes for those looking to move to the UK. Often, when immigration solicitors recommend the investor visa, it is because it offers the greatest flexibility, less rigid visa conditions and accelerated settlement, rather than because it is the only immigration route available to a visa applicant.
For example, it was not that long ago that our individual immigration solicitors recommended that an international student apply for an investor visa rather than a student visa. Why? Money was freely available to invest in the UK without any hardship to the ultra-high net worth family and the investor visa was the best fit because the primary objective was for the international student to settle in the UK as quickly as possible.
The alternatives to the investor visa include:
- The start-up visa for entrepreneurs who can set up a business in the UK. To settle in the UK, you can then apply to switch to the innovator visa.
- The innovator visa for more established entrepreneurs who plan to set up a new scalable and innovative business in the UK.
- The global talent visa for those with a range of ‘talents’ or promise.
- The sole representative visa for the sole representative of an overseas business who is tasked with the setting up of the first UK branch or subsidiary company of an overseas based parent company. Immigration rules specify the extent of the shareholding in the overseas parent company that the sole representative visa applicant can hold and still meet the sole representative visa eligibility criteria.
- The intra company transfer visa for visa applicants employed by an overseas company in a qualifying occupation where the overseas employer has a UK base with a Home Office issued sponsor licence and wants to transfer the visa applicant’s employment to the UK.
- The skilled worker visa for visa applicants looking to work in the UK and who have a job offer from a sponsoring employer with a sponsor licence. The job must be within the government list of eligible occupations for a skilled worker visa and meet the minimum salary threshold.
- The graduate visa for students who are in the UK on a student visa and want to remain in the UK but don’t want to set up their own company and apply for a start-up visa or who do not meet the eligibility criteria for a skilled worker visa.
- The Hong Kong visa or the British national (overseas) visa for those with British national (overseas) status who are looking to relocate from Hong Kong and settle in the UK . To qualify for this visa, you do not need a job offer from a sponsoring employer.
- The business visa or visitor visa for those looking to come to the UK on a short-term basis and who want to carry out some permissible business activities or want to check out their opportunities in the UK. For example, visiting the UK to look at the option of setting up a business and applying for an innovator visa.
There are a wide range of UK immigration options but each visa has its own eligibility criteria and benefits, some visas require a job offer, others an investment in the UK and other visas can lead to accelerated settlement. Immigration solicitors will take the time to understand your circumstances and goals to work out your best visa route to UK entry clearance and settlement.
UK Online and London Immigration Solicitors