There are four divisions under the Tier 1 Points Based System (PBS) for UK immigration. The Investors category is designed for those individuals who intend to make a substantial amount of investment in the UK.
This is similar to the entrepreneur category of the Tier 1 visa however the investor sum is much larger and there are no requirements to engage directly in business activities.
Tier 1 Visa - Eligibility
Unlike all other tiers of the UK points Based System, the tier 1 visa does not require the applicant to have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor.
All other tiers of UK immigration requires the sponsoring college, business or any other institution to have a license as a sponsor and be able to provide the individual with a sponsorship certificate, allowing them to be able to apply for entry clearance.
The Tier 1 General visa has replaced the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). Its aim is to allow the most highly skilled individuals to enter the country with the intention to work. As mentioned, no sponsor is required for this process but a minimum points threshold must be reached to qualify for the visa service.
Tier 1 Investor Visa - General Requirements
Unlike the General and Entrepreneur options of the Tier 1 visa, there is no requirement for proficiency in the English language. This is because investors are unlikely to work therefore this requirement is deemed unnecessary.
The fact that the applicant must financially support themselves as well as their dependents on the other Tier 1 categories but this rule does not apply to the Tier 1 Investor visa. A maintenance test is also not required, as those investing sufficient funds to pass the requirements are not required to prove maintenance.
Tier 1 Investor Visa - Specific Requirements
Similar to all of the categories of the Tier 1 system, the Investor category requires that the applicant meets the minimum pass mark of 75 points or exceeds it.
In the Tier 1 General option there is a range of criteria that needs to accumulate to a minimum of 75 points, however with the Investor visa this can be satisfied by fulfilling one of the following options:
- The candidate has a minimum of £1 million. The money must be their own and must be held in a regulated UK financial institution. The money must also be disposable in the United Kingdom.
- The candidate has personal assets to the value of more than £2 million taking into account any liabilities.
- The candidate has an amount of no less than £1 million, which is under their control and is held in a regulated UK financial institution. This may include money which has been loaned to them if the financial institution providing the loan is regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Extending a Tier 1 Visa
A Tier 1 visa can be extended in all categories except for the Post Study Work category. What makes the Post Study Work category different from the others is that it's designed as a temporary bridge between study and employment and is only granted for the initial two years and has no option to extend.
Tier 1 visas in the General, Investor and Entrepreneur category are all issued for an initial three years, which can be extended to a further two years as long as you meet the rules of your current visa.
Unlike the initial set of requirements that had to be met, the Investor visa holders must still qualify with a minimum pass mark of 75 points and the applicant must have either of the following:
- A minimum of £1 million of their own money in the UK - 30 Points
- Personal Assets with a value exceeding £2 million taking account of liabilities - 30 Points
- Money under their control which amounts to no less than £1 million. This can include loaned money from a provider who is regulated by the FSA.
In addition candidates must also fulfil all of the requirements below:
They must have invested a minimum of £750,000 in the UK. This must have been invested by way of either UK Government bonds or share capital or investment capital in active UK companies. This does not include companies whose main activities are property investment. Investment cannot be interpreted as placing deposits in a bank or building society.
The investment that has been outlined above must have been made within the 3 months of gaining the Tier 1 visa and must be maintained throughout the duration of the visa.
Tier 1 Investor applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain
A Tier 1 Investor who has made an investment of £1,000,000 in the United Kingdom will be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years.
A Tier 1 Investor who has made an investment of £5,000,000 in the United Kingdom will be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after three years.
A Tier 1 Investor who has made an investment of £10,000,000 in the United Kingdom will be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after two years.
A Tier 1 Investor visa holder will not be required to meet the permitted absences of 90 days or less in any one year. In relation to the Tier 1 Investor the permitted absences are increased to 180 days in any one year.
Switching to a Tier 1 Visa
Tier 1 visa holders can switch to another category such as General, Investor or Entrepreneur if they meet the requirements laid out by that particular visa. The only exception to the rule is that the applicant cannot switch to the Post Study Work visa. Individuals who are on the Tier 2 or Tier 4 option can also switch into the Tier 1 option if they fulfil the required points. Also it is important to note that anyone who is currently on a Tier 3, Tier 5 or Working Holidaymaker visa would not be able to switch directly into Tier 1.
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