Although the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa represents the most obvious route for business-savvy migrants looking to enter the UK, it is not the only option. The Tier 1 Investor Visa provides high net worth individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) with an alternative way to relocate themselves and their family to the UK.
Most of the documents required remain the same with Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications, though requirements are more relaxed on language, with no proof of English test required for an Investor application.
Tier 1 Investors are required to invest £2,000,000 (2 million pounds) in a UK business, and upon receipt of a visa will be granted leave to remain for three years and four months. This can later be extended for another two years.
Varying degrees of investment ultimately determine how long it will be before an applicant is granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, at which point they are allowed to stay in the country for as long as they like.
An investment of £2m will ensure an applicant is eligible for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years in the UK. An investment of £5m will reduce this to 3 years, and a £10m investment will provide indefinite leave to remain after just 2 years in the country.
However, an investment alone is not enough to satisfy the visa requirements, which require that any successful applicant spends a maximum of 180 days out of the UK each year. If you overrun this allowance, future visa extension applications may be rejected, or your visa may be revoked entirely.
Further restrictions exist on where you are able to invest your money. Applicants are not permitted to invest in firms concerned with property investment, management or development, for example, nor can they receive public funds or work as a professional sportsperson. Alternatively, investments can be made in existing UK businesses in the form of shares or loans.
Further details of application requirements are available through the UK government website, and a range of immigration specialists are available to walk you through the application process, and give your application the best possible chance of success.