Dip Blamed On Global Political Uncertainty And Unrest
So-called ‘golden visas’ being granted have dropped dramatically in recent months, prompting concerns over investment into the UK.
During Q3 (June – September 2019) Tier 1 Investor visa applications being granted tumbled to 49, down from 124 in Q2. The data reveals a sharp drop in the amount of applications coming from China and Hong Kong (down to 19 from 69) and only four from Russia in Q3.
The data comes at a time where in the UK, the general election and chronic uncertainty over Brexit continues to dominate the headlines and legislative agenda, prompting potential overseas investors to wait and see what the outcome will be.
Elsewhere in the world the recent political unrest in Hong Kong has been a persistent headline in 2019, but immigration experts at Irwin Mitchell say that political upheaval often leads to more emigration, not less.
Expert Opinion“The 60% drop in Tier 1 Investor visas is most likely down to Brexit uncertainty and the possibility of a Corbyn government, which has many overseas individuals looking at the UK with concern. They are likely biding their time to see what the outcome of the ongoing negotiations and general election will be.
We’ve had an upturn in inquiries from Hong Kong that we believe is prompted by the political unrest, which often leads to emigration. We anticipate further enquiries in the coming months.” Philip Barth - Partner
The Tier 1 Investor visa route has come under scrutiny in recent years, having been accused of allowing funds to be laundered into the UK and allowing undesirable individuals to settle in the UK. As a result it has become a political talking point, resulting in a bungled attempt by the Home Office to suspend and then reinstate the visa type in December 2018.
In an attempt to reassure its credibility, the Tier 1 Investor visa route was reformed in March 2019 so that investment in UK government bonds no longer qualifies and the period throughout which applicants have to show that they have held the required £2m investment funds increased from 90 days to two years.
The £2m of capital required for a Tier 1 Investor visa must be invested in active and trading UK registered companies.
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