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Last week we commented on news in the British press and the Immigration Minister’s announcement regarding a near immediate suspension of their Tier 1 (Investor) route. We noted that the Government had not, at the time, published any announcements on its website, and said in our briefing that we would provide an update once the position is clarified.   

Earlier this week, the Home Office retracted last week’s announcement, now stating that “the Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended”. The email, sent to the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, went on to say that “the Government remains committed to reforming the route” and that “a further announcement will be made in due course”. Reassuringly, the Home Office also confirms that “any suspension would be implemented through changes to the Immigration Rules”. 

The reason for this turn of events is unclear, although there are indicators that the retraction is the result of opposition by other Government departments (very likely based on an understanding of the importance of attracting wealthy individuals to the UK).

What is clear, however, is the Tier 1 (Investor) route will be reformed, as will the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route. The Immigration Minister made a written statement to Parliament announcing that the reforms will be introduced in spring 2019. Such new rules are most likely to come into effect in April 2019.

Although details of the changes have not been provided, these will most likely result in more onerous requirements  and may be introduced at short notice. We therefore suggest that those looking to apply under the Tier 1 (Investor) or the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) routes in the near future consider accelerating their plans, so as to ensure that their applications are dealt with under the current, less onerous, rules.

Finally, we cannot leave this topic without saying that we take some comfort in the Government’s confirmation that any changes will be implemented through amendments to the Immigration Rules, rather than the use of unannounced emergency measures.

If you require further information about anything covered in this briefing note, please contact Elena Hinchin, Lee Jackson or Sharmila Mehta, or your usual contact at the firm on +44 (0)20 3375 7000.  

This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Farrer & Co LLP, December 2018

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