One area where I work closely with our immigration team is in relation to an applications for "Tier 1 Investment Visas". Such a visa effectively allows clients to settle in the UK after 5 years. Most of the process would be handled by our immigration team, but by definition, the clients will also need investment advice as well.
What is it?
The Government welcomes visa applications from people who have capital to invest in the UK. The Tier 1 visa application which I've most recently been involved with, requires that the applicant has at least £1million to invest in the UK or has global assets of at least £2million with borrowings of at least £1million from a Prudential Regulation Authority regulated bank. There are alternative applications where clients have at least £5 or £10million to invest or , which allows settlement within 3 and 2 years respectfully.
There are strict rules on how the funds must be invested and the ongoing reporting to maintain the visa especially in the first 3 years or so. The funds have to be invested on the following basis:
75% of the applicant's investment must be invested in one of more of the following:
· UK Government Bonds (Gilts)
· UK Equities (shares)
· Loan Capital in active UK registered companies (not those principally engaged in property investment)
· The entire investment may be invested in this way, or a maximum of 25% can be held in cash or invested in UK property held in the applicant's own name.
· Custody of the investments must be onshore in the UK.
· Investments cannot be used as security for loans.
There are a number of providers who can deal with this type of investment. Importantly, the funds have to be fully invested within 3 months of the visa being granted and due to the investment restriction imposed by the Government, there is less scope for diversification.
In my experience, additional care must be taken when advising US residents moving to the UK, which is largely down to additional reporting requirements for the US tax authorities. This doesn't seem to be too much of an issue when they are deemed to become UK resident, but as this may be after the visa has been granted, the timescales for getting fully invested may be quite tight.
How we can help
At Morton Fraser, we are not only able to provide clients who may be considering relocating to the UK with the expert immigration advice they need but we are also able to advise on investment options, be that in property or stock market/government investments which may well be essential to obtaining a visa. For further information on how we can help, please contact us on the details below.