Lawyer Monthly Magazine - January 2019 Edition

8 Monthly Round-Up JAN 2019 www. lawyer-monthly .com The Home Office has gone back on its suspension of Tier 1 Investor visas just days after announcing their suspension, creating uncertainty for wealthy im- migrants and their advisers, and potentially jeopardis- ing millions of pounds of investment to the country. Tier 1 Investor visas were introduced a decade ago to encourage more in- vestment into the UK from foreign countries. The mini- mum requirement of in- vestment into the UK is now £2 million and investors are granted indefinite leave to remain after a five-year period. The Home Office appar- ently issued a statement to the press saying the suspension of Tier 1 Inves- tor visas, or ‘Golden Visas’, would come into effect at midnight on 6 December. Immigration Minister Caro- line Nokes was reported to have said at the time she was “bringing forward these new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK busi- nesses, can benefit from our immigration system. No official notice of the suspension has been issued by the Home Office.  However, on 10 December the Immigration Law Prac- titioners’ Association (ILPA) sent an email to its mem- bers stating the Home Of- fice had in fact gone back on its purported suspension of the Tier 1 Investor visa, creating uncertainty for those applying to come to the UK and potentially jeopardising millions of pounds of investment. The backtrack on the suspen- sion was confirmed by the Home Office on 11 December in correspond- ence to ILPA, with an ap- parent further statement being announced ‘in due course’. Tier 1 Investor visas have come under recent criti- cism with some saying they allow ‘dirty money’ to come into the UK under a false guise. In 2017 over 1000 Tier 1 In- vestor visas were issued to applicants and their fami- lies, mostly to Chinese and Russian citizens. Earlier this year the high-profile case of football manager and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich withdrawing his Tier 1 Investor visa to the UK hit the headlines and raised the prospect Immigration Experts Comment On Home Office Climb-down IMMIGRATION LAW of others following suit and taking their wealth out of the UK. Philip Barth, Partner and Head of Immigration at Ir- win Mitchell Private Wealth said: “This is no way to run an immigration policy, effectively trying to leg- islate by press release. Not only are there signifi- cant amounts of money involved – the minimum requirement for a Tier 1 Investor visa’s investment in the UK is £2 million – but there are real, hardworking people who are already in the process of applying to come to the UK. They have done nothing wrong and yet are being treated like they have. “There were eyebrows raised when the change of policy was hastily an- nounced through a press release with no prior con- sultation with immigration law practitioners and no formal Home Office notice, and to have backtracked so quickly shows that much more care needs to be taken with this kind of poli- cy. Some of our team were working through the night for our clients because of this suspension, working to a deadline that did not in fact exist. “Hopefully now the gov- ernment will take the ap- propriate time and care on the design and implemen- tation of its future investor visa policies, particularly at such a fraught time po- litically and globally when we should be encouraging investment into the UK.” (Source: Irwin Mitchell)

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