The Home Office has revealed that all 6,312 Tier1 Investor Visas that were issued before the 2015 programme changes will be re-assessed in an effort to crack down on money laundering.
The reviews, which are expected to take some time, are likely to result in more changes such as the requirement for banks to require source of funds information and evidence of same before accepting funds from Tier 1 visa applicants.
Previous reforms in 2015 and 2019 included he following: an exclusion of investments in government bonds, requirement of evidence to show that the funds have been held for at least 2 years or provision of source funds evidence, and confirmation letters from the banks that they conducted proper customer due diligence checks.
The UK Government wants to continue encouraging foreign investment into the economy, which like any other will be constantly in need of fresh injections in the wake of the pandemic.
Britain’s broad appeal and draw to overseas wealth will not diminish once its values are preserved. However, in order to ensure longevity and preserve the integrity of any Residence by Investment program, a robust qualification process is paramount.
The reviews will no doubt cause anxiety amongst visa holders, and some professionals are concerned that it will have a negative effect on the programme. On the other hand, reviews leading to proper reforms are necessary if the stigma of past mistakes are to removed. Once the reforms are in place and the process becomes more selective, the result will be an enhancement of the Tier 1 Investor Visa’s profile and the reinstatement of its integrity.
Education remains the main driver for the Tier 1 Investor Visa. In 2020 there were 216 visas granted, down 40% from 360 in 2019, attributed to the pandemic. In 2015, after the first reforms the number of visas granted fell sharply to 192 from 1172 in 2014.
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