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No EU, no problem: Investment immigration to the UK

Ever since Brexit, a cloud of uncertainty has loomed over immigration to the UK. And while it’s perfectly natural to be concerned about the impact of these developments, Indian nationals can breathe easy, as immigration routes are going to remain unchanged for those outside the EU. So, what are the options at one’s disposal?

Passive investors might find the Tier 1 Investor visa suited to their needs. Requiring an investment of GBP 2,000,00 in active, trading UK businesses, this visa gives investors the chance to remain in the UK for an extendable period of 3 years and 4 months. What makes this one of the most attractive options in the world, though, is that investors can apply to settle after as little as 2 to 5 years in the country. Moreover, there is no language proficiency requirement, and investors can be accompanied by their spouse and minor children. Investors also have the liberty to decide how their money is invested and can trade as they wish, as long as the principle amount stays in the UK and above the specified threshold of GBP 2,000,00. However, there is one caveat – the UK prescribes a minimum time spent in the territory for those who plan to apply for citizenship or indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

That’s far from the only avenue to the UK, though. The nation has recently implemented its Start-Up and Innovator visas, in an attempt to attract budding entrepreneurs. The Innovator visa, which is reserved for experienced businessmen and women, requires applicants to have at least GBP 50,000 to invest in their venture. The Start-Up visa is a viable option for younger entrepreneurs, as it does not have any investment-related prerequisites. Both the Start-Up and Innovator visas provide recipients with temporary resident status for 2 and 3 years, respectively. Following this, Start-Up visa holders can progress to Innovator visas, whereas the latter permits permanent residence after the three-year period. However, it must be noted that the business ideas must be deemed innovative, viable and scalable by relevant authorities like accelerators, higher education providers and government agencies. These visas also have a minimum threshold of the time that must be spent in the UK, and language proficiency requirements, which ensure that only genuine applicants get through.

The Representative of an Overseas Business visa, meanwhile, is the ideal avenue for people with family businesses outside the European Economic Area, which allows one member to establish a branch or subsidiary in the UK. However, this representative must not be a majority shareholder in the enterprise, and is subject to language testing and requirement of residency in the UK. Holders of this visa are granted temporary residence for the first five years, which is followed by a year of permanent residence, and ultimately, citizenship.

Though there are Tier 2 visas that employees of UK-based organisations can avail, the aforementioned options are quickly gaining popularity – and for good reason. Their relatively low investment threshold, combined with lightning fast processing times and clear pathways to citizenship, have made the UK an increasingly attractive destination for prospective immigrants.