Nationals from China and Chinese Special Administrative Regions had a total of 189 UK Tier 1 investor visas issued, this accounted for 52.5% of the total number of investor visas in 2019. This is a significant increase when compared to 2015 when the total number of Chinese applicants was 50 in the year, accounting for 39% of the total number that year.
We, however, believe that this increase is an indication that the successful businessmen and women of the world’s emerging economies have confidence in the opportunities post-Brexit Britain might present.
In my opinion, the main statistic to analyse is the refusal rate which fell from 11.42% in 2015 to 3.99% in 2019, and of which, applicants from BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries made up 40% of the refusals in 2019.
During the 4th quarter of 2019, the UK issued 56 main applicants UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visas. This brings the annual total to 360 main applicants.
“The final quarter of 2019 saw a pickup in demand for the UK Tier 1 (Investor) visa post the March ’19 rule changes. Previously we stated it will take around 6 months for potential applicants to understand the updated immigration rules which require applicants to provide further detail of the provenance of their funds, or Source of Wealth as we call it in the financial sector. In addition, the withdrawal of UK Government bonds as a qualifying investment has seen a shift in applicants investing into managed UK corporate bond portfolios of mainly investment-grade bonds. There have not been a shift into high risk, small, or illiquid investments. This is mainly due to the fact that most applicants do not fit the suitability criteria, and the main objective is their visa. We have seen a sharp increase in schemes attempting to attract investments from Investor Visa applicants with little success.
There are a number of themes moving forward where we expect demand to continue to increase during 2020. Firstly, the UK is still the UK in the post EU world, meaning the motivating factors for applicants to move to the UK remain such as education, rule of law, quality of life. The recent election has given a strong mandate to the current government making the political landscape more stable and encouraging those who were sitting on the side-lines to make their application. The theme of the moment, the Coronavirus, may cause a short term slowdown, but we see the medium-term demand positive. Finally, the Pound is still relatively low compared to pre-referendum levels.
From our research, we do not believe that we will see strong demand from EU citizens in the future compared to the levels of demand from China or the Middle East.