By Farzin Yazdi, Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital
During the third quarter of 2019 the amount of main applicant UK Tier 1 (Investor) visas granted fell by over 60% to 49, from 124 in Q2.
Commenting on the data, Rafael Steinmetz Leffa notes:
“Considering the rule changes which happened in March 2019, it seems the information about the changes has not yet filtered down to the overseas professional community. When the last major rule change took place in Nov 2014, we saw a sharp fall in applicants until the new rules were fully absorbed by the professional community and prospective migrants. The last spike in the numbers could all be attributed to people that applied prior to the changes and were granted the visas throughout the Q2 2019 period, creating a bottleneck effect.”
“Other professionals we talk to have great expectations around high net worth individuals immigrating to the UK due to the unrest in Hong Kong. However, we hold the opinion that – because of this surge in demand for immigration services – liquidity simply is not present. Most of the individuals migrating to the UK historically had a significant portion of their assets in property investments and that is an illiquid asset. It would be counter-intuitive to sell these assets now that prices have dropped.”
“Another reason we may not see actual numbers go up until after Q2 2020 is that the high net worth migration to the UK is still driven by education. This visa category is mostly used by parents that wish to accompany their children to school here, and the busy period of school admissions has just passed.”
Active and trading UK companies moving offshore
Major UK utility companies are attempting to protect shareholders from the threat of a cut-price nationalisation by moving offshore. This election hedge may have significant implications for those who hold these shares or corporate bonds in their portfolio.
Reuters news agency reported that SSE, one of the leading UK electricity and gas companies, has incorporated a Swiss holding company. National Grid has opened subsidiaries in Luxembourg and Hong Kong. Press reports stated that Anglian Water and Yorkshire water have created overseas holding companies.
One of the key requirements for a qualifying investment as defined in Annex A of the Guidance notes is for the active & trading company to have a UK registered address.
We urge other professionals to review and monitor this situation as we are for our clients.