Tier 1 Investor - funds requirement to double from 6 November 2014

Posted: 16/10/2014


The Immigration minister announced today, 16 October, the much anticipated changes to the Tier 1 Investor route raising the minimum funds required from £1 million to £2 million.  

The changes being introduced follow the publication of the MAC report earlier this year which we analysed in our April update. A comparison table of the current system, the MAC recommendations and the changes is included at the bottom of this page (table 1). 

A full summary of the changes that will apply to new applications submitted on or after 6 November 2014 can be seen below: 

1. Money and investment

  • The minimum funds required of £1 million is being increased to £2 million.
  • The investment amount is being increased from 75% to 100%. This means that there will no longer be a possibility to use some of the funds towards the purchase of a home in the UK for example.
  • Government bonds are still with us and the permitted investments remain as: 
      • UK Government bonds
      • share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
  • The need to make up the shortfall if the investments’ value falls has been removed. This means more risk can be taken with investments without the fear of having to make up the difference if these do not provide the desired return. However, if the value falls below the purchase price due to the applicant selling some of the investments in the portfolio, then this will need to be made up in the same reporting period.  

2. Subjective assessments of applications

Tier 1 Investor category was one of the few categories under which applications were still being objectively assessed. This is set to change from 6 November 2014. Applications submitted on or after that date could be refused if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that:

  • the applicant is not really in control of the funds to freely invest them
  • the funds are derived unlawfully
  • where a third party is involved - the character, conduct or associations of that third party mean that approving the application would not be conducive to the public good.

There is no indication as yet about what would constitute “reasonable grounds” and what the caseworker will be relying on to carry out their assessment. As a result, it is expected that further information will need to be submitted with applications to ensure that the Home Office is satisfied with the control element and the legitimacy of the source of funds.

It is also expected that there will be a surge in applications from those wishing to rely on the lower amount. However, this decision should be properly considered taking into account all factors.

The Immigration minister also confirmed that further consultations will follow on the type of investment the route should encourage in order to deliver real economic benefits and other improvements to the route in which we will be participating. We will provide an update as soon as the consultation document is published.

For further information or advice please contact Hazar El-Chamaa.

Table 1 – Tier 1 Investor route 6 November changes

  Current route MAC recommendations New route from 6 November
Funds Minimum £1m
  • Minimum £2m
  • Premium route - minimum £2.5m 100 visas to be determined by auction (sealed bids)

Recommendations partly adopted

Minimum £2m

Source of funds

Own funds

Loan from a registered UK financial institution

Own funds only

Recommendations adopted

Own funds only

Permitted investments Government bonds/gilts; loan/share capital in UK registered trading companies
  • To permit wider investment activity eg venture capital schemes; angels investments; infrastructure bonds; property development; pooled investments; UK government operated fund for businesses; philanthropic contributions/donations
  • Restrict/remove ability to invest in gilts
  • Premium route - amount over £2m to be gifted to the government and to go to a specific 'good causes fund'

Recommendations not adopted

Government bonds/gilts; loan/share capital in UK registered trading companies

Residential requirements 185 days in any consecutive 12 month period
  • 185 days per year
  • Premium route - 90 days

Recommendations not adopted

185 days in any consecutive 12 month period


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