According to some media reports (including the BBC, so it must be true) the Tier 1 Investor scheme is to be suspended, possibly as early as Friday 7 December.
Tier 1 Investors are able to acquire visas by investing at least £2 million in British companies or UK Government bonds, and the majority of such migrants are Russians and Chinese. There has over the past few months been some talk in UK Government circles about investment funds having been obtained illegally and about money laundering and – as everybody knows – it is the Russians who are particularly implicated.
The Home Office some while ago raised the possibility that Tier 1 Investors’ visa might be re-investigated, and that some Tier 1 Investor visas might even be removed. This of course was vaguely worrying for those who have obtained their visas legitimately as well as for those who might not have.
The idea is, apparently, that the scheme will be suspended until a new scheme is introduced some time in the New Year. And it may be that the new scheme will require applicants to prove to a high standard the origin of their investment funds and show that they have owned the funds for at least two years.
And it also appears that under the new scheme investors will only be allowed to invest in British companies, not Government bonds. Some brainbox in the Home Office has evidently realised that that the former is more beneficial to the UK economy than the latter, because whereas the former constitutes an injection of cash into the economy which may stay there, the latter is only effectively a loan to the Government.
So what is going to happen to those who have Tier 1 Investor visa applications in the system? We can only speculate at this stage because official information is not available (could it be that the Home Office did not want to publicise it in advance?). It may be that applications already in the system will continue to be processed but new applications not accepted for the time being, or it may be something different.
As soon as we find out more we will let our readers know.