As expected, today’s release of the latest ONS figures for Q4 2018 applications for the Tier 1 Investor Visa remains high. This comes as no surprise as on the 5th of December, the Home Office announced that it would ‘halt’ applications which led to many intended investors to apply in those 24 hours in order to have their application fall within the current rules.
The Home Office then later announced that it would not halt the program, however at a later stage it would reform the program. Therefore, we expect the high number of applicants to continue as more and more people make a decision to move to the UK whilst they know what the rules are.
“While in discussion with clients they explain that the uncertainty of future rules is something that worries them, especially with regards to which investments are permitted”, said Rafael Steinmetz Leffa, Head of China Desk at Shard Capital Investor Visa. “This concern is mostly referring to direct investments in the UK government, in the form of Government Bonds which is the preferred financial instrument for the vast majority of this type of investor.”
Whilst we note that the overall number of applications is slightly lower than the third quarter of 2018, it is worth highlighting that 50% of applications in the fourth quarter were from China and its SARs (Special Administrative Regions). We also saw a rise in applications from countries in the Middle East.
2018 also saw the largest number of applicants since the Home Office increased the investment threshold from £1mil to £2mil in November 2014. This shows that investors remain bullish about the UK’s status as a hub for education, finance and investments overall.