Sadly, UK Tier 1 Investor visa is now abolished and it is no longer possible to apply. UK Representative of Overseas Business visa is now replaced with Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker visa. It is no longer possible to secure long-term residence rights under this UK visa category. This blog post is left unaltered for historic purposes only.
As an ultra high net worth individual who already has a business based overseas, you may be eligible to apply for either Tier 1 Investor or Representative of Overseas business visa in the UK.
Here are at least 5 considerations that may help you to decide which visa option is better for you as you plan to relocate to the UK.
1. You no longer wish to continue your overseas business in the UK
Representative of an overseas business visa requires you to choose at least one overseas business you wish to continue in the UK. For your business to be eligible for this option, the requirement is that your business does not have any presence in the UK before you initiate your visa application.
It could be that your business is sufficiently advanced and you no longer need to assume a daily active role for it to run either in the UK or elsewhere. Perhaps, you have already sold or are looking to conclude the sale of your overseas business in order to advance your personal or investment objectives elsewhere. You may be exploring your options to retire in the UK as you no longer wish to be economically active.
If this describes your current circumstances, Tier 1 Investor visa is a more suitable visa option for you.
2. You are the sole owner of your overseas business or your control or shareholding is over 50%
If you are the sole owner of your overseas business, hold over 50% of your business shares or control more than 50% of your business, this makes you ineligible to apply for the Representative of Overseas Business visa.
Your only option is to apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa.
3. You do not want to extend your visa while in the UK
Representative of overseas business visa is issued for the initial period of 3 years. You are expected to extend your visa for another 2 years before your initial visa comes to an end.
If you apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa instead, the initial duration of Investor visa is 3 years and 4 months.
If you invest £5M or £10M initially, it allows you to settle in the UK within 3 or 2 years respectively. It depends on the size of your initial investment.
Opting to make a higher investment as you initially apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa, allows you to skip the legal requirement to extend your visa.
4. You want to gain your indefinite leave to remain within 3 years or less
Similarly, you may want to exercise an opportunity to become eligible to settle in the UK within 3 years or less.
If you apply for a Representative of Overseas business visa, you will become eligible to settle in the UK only after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.
Similarly, if you invest £2M when you apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa, you will be eligible to settle after 5 continuous years of residence in the UK.
For both visas, you will need to secure visa extension after 3 years of residence in order to apply for settlement.
Settlement is indefinite leave to remain. It means the right to continue to live in the UK free from UK immigration control.
If you apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa and invest £5M or £10M, you will become eligible to secure your indefinite leave to remain within 3 or 2 years respectively.
5. You want to invest in the UK
Tier 1 Investor visa option is a suitable option for you if you have funds available and are looking to invest in the UK.
Please note that not all investments made in the UK will be suitable to secure Tier 1 Investor visa.
You ought to speak to UK immigration lawyer first before you speak to your investment broker to make sure that the investments you are considering to make will secure a Tier 1 Investor visa for you.
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Saule Voluckyte, M.A.E.S, LL.B, FAIA
I have been working exclusively with UHNWI in Mayfair, London since January 2008. I built specialist knowledge and expertise required to serve ultra high net worth individuals investing, operating and relocating to the UK or Switzerland.
Within the industry, I am the single adviser who is able to traverse the different areas of expertise and bring a comprehensive approach across: global structuring, UK immigration, international taxation and FOREX to develop their global wealth strategy, while they build, grow and expand their wealth worldwide.
Previous experience as one of the senior advisors for the government, made me a go-to person when delicate and uncomfortable scenarios involving heads of state need to be handled with care and preserve privacy.