The UK Border Agency has today announced changes to the Tier 1 Investor and Entrepreneur visa categories.

The following significant changes are due to be laid before Parliament today and are scheduled to come into force on 13 December 2012:

Investors

  • Funds invested by a Tier 1 Investor in accordance with their visa requirements must be custodised in the UK and not offshore;
  • Investments made by a Tier 1 Investor in accordance with their visa requirements may not be used as security for a loan. It is unclear if the UK Border Agency intend this amendment to apply to the 'Loan Route' as it is normal practice for banks to secure monies loaned for the express purpose of Tier 1 Investor visas on the investment portfolio. Initial discussions with UK Border Agency policy suggests that they require such loans to be secured on other assets. However we believe this is unworkable as banks are unlikely to secure such funds on assets overseas. We are liaising closely with senior contacts within the UK Border Agency for further clarity on this point;
  • Professional sports people are excluded from working in the UK under the Tier 1 Investor visa category;
  • A list of financial institutions has been published by the UK Border Agency that will not qualify as recognised financial institutions for holding the investment funds; and
  • If a Tier 1 Investor wants to "top up" their investments from £1million to £5 million or £10 million they will need to evidence the source of these additional funds.

Entrepreneurs

  • The English language requirement will be reduced from advanced to intermediate; and
  • A list of financial institutions has been published by the UK Border Agency that will not qualify as recognised financial institutions for holding the £50,000 or £200,000 investment funds.

Both

  • The UK Border Agency shall have the power to curtail the leave of Tier 1 Investors and Entrepreneurs who do not meet the requirements of their visas.

You may wish to review the investor portfolios that you currently manage to ensure compliance with the above requirements.