With an impending Brexit, we are expecting to see restricted access to the UK for EU citizens - but the UK is still an attractive place to relocate to.
With beautiful countryside and vibrant cities, many seeped in history and abundant with culture, the UK has much to offer. Combined with a settled and rewarding lifestyle the UK is a compelling place to work and live.
Despite the anticipated changes restricting access to the UK for EU citizens, there are still many ways for non-UK nationals to apply for access to the UK. Although this could also change in the future, one route, which is currently only used by non-EU nationals (EU nationals currently have unrestricted access), is the investor visa.
With the purpose of encouraging overseas investment to help drive productivity and the growth of the UK economy, the Government currently allows non-UK nationals a visa if they invest in the UK.
Many non-EU citizens have invested in the UK with a view to being allowed to live in the UK and some use this investment as a route to UK citizenship. For others, it is purely a financial consideration and a UK visa can be a useful by-product.
A Tier 1 Investor visa is for those willing to invest a minimum of £2m in the UK. In return they are allowed an initial three years and four month visa which provides access with the possibility of continuous two year extensions if certain criteria is met.
After five years, an investor may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR or ‘Permanent Residence’). There are also programmes available for £5m and £10m investments, each with progressively shorter terms to reach ILR.
Provided the conditions set out by the UK Home Office are met, there are relatively few requirements for applicants. With no initial language requirement and no requirement to work, this is a very popular way to access the UK. As funds can include inherited or legally acquired funds from other sources, no previous ‘business experience’ is needed.
The investor visa allows applicants to bring partners/spouses and children under 18 years, all of whom have full access to work (except doctor or dentist in training) and education in the UK. Ultimately, an investor visa can lead to citizenship and a British passport.
Some of the most common issues that befall applicants in this category ismeeting visa compliance requirements. This includes: investing within 90 days of entering the UK into a qualifying investment; maintaining the investment level; and more importantly, not thinking through their personal strategy from the outset.
Additionally, there is much administrative housekeeping to keep in order, such as the need to register, calculate and pay UK tax.
Before making decisions on the level of investment, it is worth considering the reasons for wanting an investor visa. The investment strategy should align with considerations such as whether the individual wants more permanent residence or whether they view their move to the UK as temporary. Time outside of the UK and language skills will impact on eligibility for ILR and citizenship, so it is important to identify objectives and make clear decisions from the outset.
The UK is encouraging investment by overseas individuals, with many factors to consider, good advice is essential.
For further information see kpmg.com/uk/legalservices.