Today’s migration statistics cover a year which, I am in no doubt, we are all pleased to see the back of.
Looking back at 2020 within the UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa space, it was a year which started with Brexit concern which was quickly overshadowed by COVID-19 triggering the closing of visa centres, borders, and thus migration. Historic stock market volatility followed. Europeans began to leave. Then a new immigration system, leaving the Investor Category unchanged.
Breaking down into the UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa category we saw a 40% decline in year-on-year numbers with a total of 216 Investor Visas issued to main applicants. Over all categories in the UK, there were just under one million visas granted in 2020, 69% fewer than the previous year.
During the final quarter, China & Hong Kong accounted for 36% of applicants. For our regular readers, I have been highlighting the rise of US nationals migrating to the UK, and this trend continues. We do not see British Nationals Overseas (BNO) replacing Investor Visa applicants from Hong Kong, as not all qualify, and some do still wish to apply for the Investor Category.
An item of note was an unusually high refusal rate, ordinarily this rate is less than 5% but during Q4 2020, it jumped up to nearly 20% with 12 refusals (half of which from India), highlighting the importance of seeking advice from reputable experienced immigration lawyers / advisors and investment managers.
The future looks bright for the UK Investor Category.
With a roadmap published a few days ago, record numbers of vaccinations, and a pent-up demand, we see a busy year ahead.
The UK’s handling of the COVID crisis both on a governmental and public level compared to other nations, while the jury is still; seems to resonate well with High Net Worth (HNW) migrants. Priorities in investment migration have changed somewhat in that work practices and health care provisions have jumped up the rank in priorities, the main motivation of education is still the number one reason for most Investor Visa migrants.
The UK’s public perception of Investor Visa is also changing, as Brits are becoming clients of Golden Visas as part of many retirement plans. Also, I may stand corrected on my previous comment, as I did not envisage Europeans in this category but already seeing interest from a few and its only February!
A note on the data, I am flattered that others are producing similar newsletters some producing different data. The data presented here refer to outcomes of initial entry clearances for main UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa applicants. In country switches are not included in these numbers and given COVID changes, and possible higher numbers here, these will be added once published for 2020 on the 27th of May 2021. Larger numbers published elsewhere may be for applications made rather than granted or include refusals. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me direct.
Finally, I wanted to thank my readers for being included as HNW Wealth Manager “Best of Breed” with focus on Investor Migration; truly humbled and delighted.