Recent changes introduced by the Home Office to the Immigration Rules had an impact on Tier 1 Investor Visa holders who were granted entry clearance before 29 March 2019. A new Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules was published on 9 September 2019 and saw some minor but nonetheless important amendments to the type of investments.
The first change is in respect to Tier 1 (Investor) visa applicants who were granted entry clearance before 29 March 2019. These migrants will be able to invest in Government bonds (gilts) for an extension submitted no later than 5 April 2023. They will also be allowed to invest in the same portfolio in order to seek Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if an application is submitted no later than 5 April 2025. All applications made after these dates will no longer count Government bonds as qualifying investments.
In other words, if a client was granted entry clearance before 29 March 2019 Rules and has invested in gilts, their investment must be moved to other qualifying investments if a leave to remain is sought on or after 5 April 2023 or if an indefinite leave to remain is to follow on or after 5 April 2025.
The second important change is with regards to the £1m investor clients, those who applied for an Investor visa under the Rules in place before 6 November 2014. They must extend before 6 April 2020 and apply for ILR before 6 April 2022. It is now clear that where they need to apply for an extension on or after the cut-off date of 6 April 2020 (and will therefore need to top up to at least £2 million), the remaining balance of the £2 million investment must have been made before the date of the application and be shown in the most recent portfolio report. In other words, if a client has recently extended his visa (say September 2019 and their visa should be valid until September 2021), the client will have until September 2021 to top up and re-structure their investment (subject to your usual reporting cycle).
The £1m investor clients can choose to top up their investment by investing in gilts, so long as their extension / ILR application is submitted on or before 5 April 2023 / 2025 as appropriate. Bear in mind that if they are extending on or after 6 April 2023 they can no longer rely on investments in gilts and would need to amend their investment before this date.
The Home Office Policy team has not amended the Rules for ILR for clients topping up from £1 million to £2 million. This means where a £1 million investor client cannot apply for ILR before 6 April 2022, time spent under the £1 million investment would be fully disregarded for the purposes of ILR. Only time spent with the investment at the £2 million level will count towards ILR. There is a risk therefore that many investors who are in the UK under the pre 6 November 2014 route and unable to apply for ILR due to excessive absences will need to start the 5-year qualifying period of residence again from when they top up to £2 million and therefore may want to top up as soon as possible.
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