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Tag Archives: investor visa

Changes to UK’s Investor Visa – What you need to know

The much-anticipated report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) – an independent, non-statutory and non-departmental public body that advises the government on migration issues – was published on 25 February 2014. The contents of which were based on “call for evidence” issued by the MAC to corporate partners and a number of current Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders.

Not fit for purpose

The “call for evidence” sought to answer the issue of whether or not the investment thresholds are appropriate to deliver significant economic benefits for the UK. Based on the evidence submitted to the committee, most of the Tier 1 (Investor) holders opted to invest in low-risk investment vehicles such as the UK Government Gilts as this was considered “Less risky but has greater certainty”.

It was found out that in practical terms, the capital raised through the Tier 1 (Investor) route “would barely fund two days’ worth of the national deficit and that the low proportion of investment is not sufficient to affect the interest rates on Government borrowing.”

Indirect benefits

Although the economic benefits of the visa were not as significant as originally envisaged, it was found out that investor migrants contributed to sectors such as the independent education sector, where investor migrants with children spends an average of 25,000 per year for each child, professional services sector and property/housing sector.

Possible Reform

Although below are purely recommendations, it is very likely that the Government will implement most, if not all of the said proposals.

  • Allowing investment in private companies and relaxing reporting requirements in line with Her Majesty’s Treasury Business Investment Relief.
  • Widening of existing investment tools to include Venture Capital Schemes such as Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) and Angel Investments (where an investor invests into one or a number of small businesses that are generally at the start-up or early stages).
  • Including new bespoke investments tools such as infrastructure bonds and property development where funds will be directed towards local authorities or private developers.
  • Allowing philanthropic contributions or donations to education, arts & health care.
  • Relaxing the top up requirements to incentivise investment in other instruments other than UK Government Gilts. This is to give the opportunity to those investors who are looking at high risk investments.
  • Increasing the investment threshold to 2 million GBP.
  • Removing the option to invest by way of loan from a registered UK financial institution.
  • Implementing a “Premium Route” in which investors under this category will benefit from accelerated settlement for the main applicant in just 2 years, and a residential requirement of just 90 days in addition to other requirements on accommodation, work and family.
  • Setting a reserve price for the “Premium Route” at  approximately 2.5 million and determined by way of auction. This amount would comprise of an investment of 2 million by the applicant and approximately 500,000 donated to the UK Government through good causes fund rather than general revenue for the Exchequer.
  • Aligning settlement qualification periods for main applicants and dependants under the “Premium Route” so that all will acquire settlement at the same time.

It is still unclear whether the above recommendations by the Committee will be implemented by the UK Government. What is certain is that the said proposal is a good indication that the UK Government is not just aiming to have this reform in place because of policy effectiveness, but also because of the country’s competitiveness on the citizenship by investment sector abroad.

Please note that the planned changes in principle will take into effect sometime in April with an immediate implementation in practice forestalled. Whether the Government is looking at applying any transitional arrangements remains to be seen.

Westkin Associates may be able to provide you or your client advice in anticipation of this change. Whether they are already holders of the visa or looking at making an application prior to the rules change, our Tier 1 (Investor) team led by Amir Zaidi will be able to assist you in a smooth and effective manner.

For more information, please see our recent Investor Visa Seminar that was held at London Mayfair Hotel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCK22HIg0K4

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Iran: Treasury Licence

Tier 1 Entrepreneur:

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur policy guidance states: We will not accept evidence of your money from a financial institution with which the Home Office is unable to make satisfactory verification checks. A list of financial institutions which do not satisfactorily verify financial statements can be found on our website at:

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/studying/financial-institutions/ and in Appendix P of the Immigration Rules’ http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/appendixp/appendixpf/

 In appendix P, it currently states only:

Parsian bank and Bank Pasargad are accepted

Therefore if funds are in any other bank:

  • Would need to apply for a treasury licence (if they are a ‘designated person’ or the bank is designated – see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/274596/irannuclear.pdf ) OR notification if they do not bank with a designated bank and are not a designated person
  • Transfer the funds to  a regulated bank in the UK
  • Then make the Entrepreneur application based on funds already in the UK
    But I don’t think applicants will be happy to do this before knowing if their application is successful or not


For Investors 

If they are designated or they bank with a designated bank in Iran – treasury license.

If no, then they will be required to apply for authorisation as the amount is more than £400,000.

If a client banks with the following, the form is specific to these banks:

  • Melli Bank plc
  • Bank Sepah Iran
  • Bank Sepah International plc
  • Persia International Bank
  • Bank Saderat PLC

Please note that this is subject to change.

Getting notification/authorisation/treasury licence does not guarantee that the funds be transferred. This bank has the final decision. The notification/authorisation/treasury licence merely legalises the transfer of the funds.

Bank Pasargard website states that they do have a swift code:

No.430, Mirdamad Blvd., Tehran, 1969774511, Islamic Republic of Iran.Tel: +98 ( 21 )82890Email: info@bankpasargad.comhttp://www.bankpasargad.com/SWIFT Code : BKBPIRTH

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Significant increase in visa fees to be implemented

In recent times the Government has announced changes to the fees for visa applications, applications for British Nationality and premium services. These changes are due to commence from 6th April 2014.

Minister for Immigration Mark Harper stated in his ministerial statement: “In developing these proposals, the Home Office has sought to limit most increases to 4%.”

The justification for such an increase, he says, is “Given the ongoing need to reduce public spending, we believe it is right that we continue to reduce the contribution made by UK taxpayers towards delivering the immigration system by asking those who use and benefit directly from the system to make a greater contribution.”

As has always been the case the changes in the fees translates to an increase in fees for most visa applications and in some cases the increase in fees is significant and far beyond the 4% increase stipulated. The categories that are most affected by the increase are visit visa applications and dependant applications.

For those who apply to visit the UK after the new fees are imposed, their fees will be increased by 4% (for up to 6 months stay), 8% (for up to 2 year stay) and 6.5% for visits of up to 5 years stay in the UK.

Settlement applications will see an increase of 4% in fees.

Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 4 applications made out of country will generally see an increase of 4%, with the exception of the new Tier 2 categories.

Fees for applications for British naturalisation will be increased by 4%.

The most significant increases can be seen in the applications for dependants for Indefinite Leave to Remain. In relation to the main applicant, the increase will be 4%, however, any dependants to an application will see an increase of a staggering 38.7%.

The situation is similar for Leave to Remain applications, where the main applicant fees are increased by 4% but any dependant to the application will have to pay an increase of an astounding 38.8%.

For in country Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 applications the main applicants will experience an increase of 4% with an average increase for all dependant applications of over 38%.

Given the imminence of the increase in fees for visa applications made both inside and outside the UK, Westkin would urge clients to prepare and submit their applications as soon as possible. As leaders in the field, our lawyers are able to assist with the swift preparation of your applications to ensure that your applications can be submitted before the new fees are implemented.

If you are considering making an application and wish to avoid paying an increased fee, please contact our lawyers. We are experts in all types of immigration applications and are able to provide accurate legal advice and prepare high quality applications within tight deadlines.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

Major changes on the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa set for April 2014

This blog post looks at old changes announced within immigration law. Take a look at our blog to read some more recent updates.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) – the Committee behind the adaptation of the contested financial requirements for spousal visas – have been asked by the Government to review the impact of Tier 1 (Investor) visa category on the UK economy. The MAC is expected to release its findings in April 2014, with suggestions aimed at altering the requirements of the visa in order to boost the UK economy with long term benefits.

Minimum of £1 million
Currently the visa requires applicants to invest a minimum of £1 million into the UK– via a 75% investment in UK Governmental bonds or loan capital in registered UK companies, whilst maintaining 25% on deposit or buying assets– the  benefit of which being the opportunity to follow a five year path to British Citizenship. The new proposals however could see applicants making a gift to the UK or even investing specifically in community projects or charitable projects. It is believed that these will prove more beneficial than what the current system requires. Further to this, it has been suggested that the new visa could offer applicants an accelerated route to British Citizenship.

The impact these changes will have on the UK economy are speculative, but what is clear is that the current UK Investor visa is not yielding the desired result upon the economy; with only 530 visa issued under this category in the past year, a considerably small number when compared with similar visas issued under the Points Based System. Further it could be that the UK investor visa route, when compared with other citizenship via investment routes within EU, may still face significant competition to attract potential investors; for example the newly announced Maltese Investor programme can offer applicants the benefits of EU based citizenship for as little as €650,000 – a more viable and convenient proposition that will certainly entice foreign nationals.

Continued struggle
The changes, as ever, seem to highlight the governments continued struggle to balance the interests of the economy, alongside the benefits of migration and following the addition of the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur’ requirement for of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa in January 2013, looks to be the next step in their attempt to offer competitive and beneficial routes into UK based business. What is clear from this plan is the government’s response to the ever-growing plethora of pathways to gaining EU citizenship.

Time limit
It is therefore advisable that if anyone is considering applying under the current UK Investor Visa rules, that they do so before these changes are expected to be announced next year.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

How Can Investors Move To UK With a British Passport?

An investor’s Journey to British Nationality

High value individuals may want to consider applying for a UK investor visa. Investor visas are for individuals who want to move to the United Kingdom and have the necessary funds to invest here. Individuals must meet the eligibility requirements, including being from outside of the EEA and having the necessary funds to invest £2 million or more in the United Kingdom.

If you are interested in the United Kingdom Investor Visa, Westkin Associates can assist you with the application process. We will assist you with organising your documentation, evidencing your funds, and setting you up with a wealth management company who will help you with looking after your assets and investments within the United Kingdom. The UK Investment Visa boasts some great benefits for applicants, including opportunities for settlement in the UK.

Once the investor visa has been obtained, you will want to follow the following steps to ensure that your investment process runs smoothly. A wealth management company will be able to assist you with this.

You will need to invest your funds within three months of your arrival to the UK. There are a variety of companies which you can invest in, but they have to fit in with the specified criteria. You can invest in either Private companies or Public companies, these companies must be registered and operating in the UK. This is very important and your investment may not count if this essential step is not followed.

Once you have identified the companies that you will invest in you need to identify what you will be given from the company in return for your investment as there a specific list of things that are permitted by the UKBA.

These are, Government Bonds, Shares, Corporate Bonds or loans.

You will have to invest a minimum of 750,000 in this areas.

What can you do with the remaining 250,000 of your investment funds?

Well, you can keep these funds held with a UK financial institution, or use it towards the purchase of a UK a residential property which you will be living in.

Lets assume that you have invested the 750,000 and either put the balance in an account or used the money to buy a property,what next?

The most important thing is that you keep all the documentation showing that your aggregate of 1 million has been invested for the next three years. typically your bank or broker will provide you with a quarterly report about your investments and you will normally get monthly or quarterly bank statements if you decided to keep the 250,000 in an account.

After the first three years what happens. well you have to apply for a further two year extension and in this application you will need to include the documentation showing that the money has remained “invested” throughout that period.

You have now been granted an extension – what next? well exactly the same for the next two years and at the end of the five year period.

During the five year period how long do i have to be in the UK? Six months in every year. It is very important to keep a travel diary/log which keeps track of your movements in and out of the UK.

Our team at Westkin are very experienced in assisting individuals with their applications for Investment Visas. If you would like any assistance with your visa application and would like to discuss it with a member of our highly experienced team of lawyers, please do get in touch with our team and we will be happy to assist you.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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