United Kingdom is one of the most attractive places in the world to live and do business in.
The UK is internationally renowned for having a stable democratic government. It has a respected system of law that has been adopted by many countries across the globe including Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the USA. London has its own elected mayor and assembly that deal exclusively with improving the city.
In this time of increased globalization, the UK is one of the best locations for travel and mobility. London has high-speed rail links to Brussels, Paris, and onwards to the rest of Europe, as well as mainline links to the rest of the UK. London is the busiest airport city in the world, boasting five international airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Luton, and Stansted.
The UK is well known for its National Health Service, which provides excellent free health care. However, it is also recommended to take out personal health insurance with a reputable company to cover costs of private medical care. The UK boasts some of the best medical care facilities in the world.
Residency or citizenship status in the UK provides investors with a world of exclusive benefits:
Residence in the UK for non-EU citizens. The UK immigration rules are set to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and people of talent. Recent changes have seen the UK close immigration to highly skilled workers and some other immigration categories. Therefore, for wealthy individuals, one of the best options in order to qualify for leave to remain in the UK is the Tier 1 Investor visa.
The investor category is designed to allow wealthy individuals who make a substantial financial investment in the UK to obtain permission from the UK to enter as an investor under the Tier 1 category. The applicant must invest a minimum of GBP 2 million in the UK.
The Tier 1 Investor category has the shortest investor immigration application processing time among the G8 countries and has very objective entry criteria, with a predictable outcome.
The criteria specify that the applicant must show that they have money of their own under their control in a regulated financial institution amounting to no less than GBP 2 million.
The individual must invest for five years in the UK by way of UK share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies (other than those principally engaged in property investment). Investment in government bonds and offshore companies is not permitted.
The applicant is not required to show business experience or the ability to speak English. Some nationals (Chinese, Nigerian, Russian, among others) are required to undertake a TB test before submitting their application. Investors are permitted to be gainfully employed under this visa or undertake a course of study in the UK.
The UK expects the investor and their family to intend to make the UK their main home. In order to be granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR), the main applicant and their spouse should not spend more than 180 days per year outside the UK. All children who originally applied as the main applicant’s dependents will only be granted ILR if both parents are eligible for ILR.
The applicant will initially obtain the Tier 1 visa for 40 months. Within three months of entry into the UK, they are required to make the investment of GBP 2 million, which must be maintained throughout the period of leave.
At the expiry of the initial 40-month period, the investor must apply for an ‘extension of stay’. The UK government will grant a two-year extension of stay to the whole family if the investor has satisfied the requirements for leave to enter, that is, if they have maintained the investment and adhered to the other general conditions for leave to enter.
On April 6 2011, the government announced new rules that provide the ability to achieve ILR, which is permanent residence, through an accelerated route. The new requirement is an increased investment. An investment of GBP 10 million or more will provide for settlement after two years, and an investment of GBP 5 million or more will provide for settlement after three years, instead of the usual five years. It is important to know that only the main applicant will have their route to permanent residence fast-tracked through a higher level of investment; their dependents (spouse and children) can only apply for permanent residence after living in the UK for five years.
The main applicant’s spouse and children under the age of 18 years can apply as dependents. The UK investor visa does not provide for dependent parents, who may be required to apply for leave to enter the UK under a different visa category, although this route is currently very difficult. Alternatively, the parents and other extended family could consider obtaining an alternative citizenship and passport such as from Antigua & Barbuda, so that they may travel freely into the UK for up to a six-month period at any one time.
Residence in the UK for innovators worldwide. The Tier 1 Innovator visa is aimed at those who can demonstrate relevant experience in business. It requires an individual to set up or run an existing business in the UK. The applicant must be at least 18 years of age and have at least GBP 50,000 in investment funds if they want to set up a new business. They do not need funds if their business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa. The funding can come from any source.
Before one applies, one needs to have one’s business or business idea assessed by a Home-Office-approved endorsing body. They will assess the viability of the business or business idea and, if approved, provide an endorsement letter to submit with the application.
The immigration rules distinguish between applicants who apply under the ‘new business’ criteria and those who apply under the ‘same business’ criteria. Individuals who go to the UK for the first time will need to apply under the ‘new business’ requirement.
Successful innovators are granted leave for three years at a time and can bring their family members to the UK. After three years, innovators can apply to extend their stay for a further three years or to settle permanently in the UK under indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Each of these three stages (initial application, extension, settlement) requires endorsement from an endorsing body. To qualify for ILR under the Tier 1 Innovator visa category, applicants are required to meet certain criteria, detailed in the downloadable UK Innovator Program factsheet.
You can apply for a Tier 1 Innovator visa if:
The completed application and supporting documentation must be submitted to the diplomatic post in the applicant’s country of residence. The time frame from the submission of the application is dependent on the embassy receiving the application, and approval may take between one and six weeks. Upon expiry of the initial three-year period, the main applicant must apply for an ‘extension of stay’ from within the UK. The authorities will issue the applicant with a three-year extension if all relevant criteria are met. Upon being granted settlement and spending a minimum of five years in the UK (the applicant must have held ILR in the last 12 months of that period), it is possible to apply for British citizenship.
The following list breaks down the program application process into eight basic steps. Each step must be completed before continuing to the next.
STEP 1: File preparation and submission. Application fees are due at this stage.
STEP 2: NIMARIA issues a pre-approval letter to the applicant.
STEP 3: Investment transfer by the applicant.
STEP 4: Upon receipt of funds, the bank issues a confirmation letter for assets verification, allowing the applicant to proceed to phase II.
STEP 5: Application for Tier 1 visa is prepared and filed with UK Border Agency in applicant’s country of residence.
STEP 6: Applicant and family members must submit to biometrics at the UK Border Agency where visa application was filed.
STEP 7: Once application is approved, applicant and family present original passports for visa labels to be stamped.
STEP 8: Upon landing in the UK, applicant must go to the bank to complete investment procedure.
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