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Q2 2021: The UK Issued 66 Investor Visas (previously Tier 1) to Main Applicants

Home Office Immigration Statistics – Data Release Q2 2021: The UK Issued 66 Investor Visas (previously Tier 1) to Main Applicants
By Farzin Yazdi, Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital “An impressive opening! During Q2 ’21 the UK began to remove COVID restrictions and today’s data release certainly reflects this with 66 Investor Visas issued to main applicants. Applicants from China & Hong Kong as usual dominated this visa route accounting for a third of all Investor Visas issued followed by Russia, and the United States.  For over a year, we have highlighted the trend of increasing investment migration from developed nations such as the United States and Shard Capital’s specialist US Persons offering, and this trend is continuing to gather pace. Also of note, was the first European applicant from Hungary. Refusals in the Investor Visa category are typically low because applicants must go through several stringent checks prior to applying, and this quarter saw three keeping it under 5%. Do it yourself applications always end in disaster from what I have seen and heard. For us we do not open an Investor Visa account unless you have appointed an immigration lawyer or advisor to assist you through your journey. Looking ahead, Shard Capital’s dedicated Investor Visa team has seen a doubling in the number of enquiries over the past two months from Investor Visa applications. Given the lead times these enquiries will filter through to the Home Office statistics in the following two quarters. Personally, I see this due to several factors such as the UK reopening and continuing its global dominance, clients and their professional advisors realising that Investor Visa Investment Management is a specialist financial trade, and a number of financial institutions not offering Investor Visa accounts anymore. Afghanistan Unfortunately, political unrest drives economic migration.  Historically, since 2011 the Investor Visa category has issued 26 Investor Visas to main applicants and a total of 121 visas including their dependents. We have seen several Afghani nationals enquire into this category for themselves and family members. While I do not see significant numbers, I expect a handful of Investor Visas to be issued in the following quarters. UK Value for Money? From an investment perspective, the UK’s benchmark indices performed well during Q2 ’21 increasing around 6%, however relative to global benchmarks it did underperform. We did however witness a significant increase in inbound M&A investment from overseas during first half of 2021, especially private equity deals. This indicates to us that the UK equity market offers good value to investors after a period of underperformance. 25 Years and a thank you! On a personal note, next month marks 25 years since I started to work in the square mile as a stockbroker.  Yes, I am getting old!  What a journey it has been as a migrant, moving to London from the US. I wanted to thank all my clients, colleagues current and ex, intermediaries, friends, and family. The recent peer review has been truly humbling, I feel blessed that what I do is not just a job but a way to help people get a better quality of life and hopefully will be able to do so for another 25ys!”
Source: Shard Capital
Source: Shard Capital
Source: Shard Capital

Sharp fall in UK Tier 1 Investor Visa applicants

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.

Source: Shard Capital

New record – 131 Investor Visas granted in Q1 2019

By Farzin Yazdi – Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital.

Today’s data release reminds me of the pre Nov 2014 rush we saw ahead of the increase of minimum investment from £1m to £2m – and the results are similar too. In 2014 from Q3 to Q4 we saw numbers double. This morning’s data release show an increase of over 40% from last quarter with 131 visas granted – with nearly 60% of all applicants coming from China*. 

And what a memorable quarter it has been; with the Statement of Changes on March 7 and new rules going live on the 29th of March. 

Is Britain still open for business?

When new rules are announced, it takes time for advisors and clients to fully understand them – and their subsequent implications. This time is no different. Many are still coming to terms with the implications of showing source of wealth for 2ys.

I’ve had more than one client explain to me that their cash has only been held for a short period of time, but they will seek to apply once it has been there for 2ys! In fact, from a financial perspective nothing has changed. Immigration rules have aligned closer to those in the financial world.

Given the above, I expect a few slower quarters before a return to the mean, which I believe will be a slightly higher average as some who may have chosen the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, may now choose the Investor Visa category.

Managing money for Investor Visa purposes is a specialist service which differs significantly from ordinary investment management; requiring detailed knowledge, expertise, and capabilities in other areas in order to achieve with the ultimate objective – to get ILR. 

Overall I welcome the new rules, and whilst not perfect, it does help to protect the UK from unscrupulous sources of wealth and bring greater economic benefit to the country.

Thank you again to all those who took part in our survey. Together we have made a difference! 

If you would like more information on the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, or would like to discuss this ONS release, please contact Farzin Yazdi – farzin.yazdi@shardcapital.com 

Important Information

“Shard Capital LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Important information: The information above is published solely for information purposes and is not to be construed as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments. It does not constitute a personal recommendation as defined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs of individual investors. The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount you invested. It should be remembered that past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of any information provided and no assurances or warranties are given. If you are unsure of the suitability of this product then you should contact and Independent Financial Adviser, authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.”

The results are in! Reforming the UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa survey results

This survey was designed and conducted by Farzin Yazdi – Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital. 


In early Feb we asked for your thoughts around proposed reforms to Tier 1 (Investor) Visa and the results have been great.

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey, as well as those who gave their input in developing the questions and structure.

Following the December 5 announcement by the Immigration Minister, to temporarily suspend and reform the UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa category, it was our understanding that there would be no consultation with stakeholders.

This prompted my move to create a survey to give my fellow industry colleagues an opportunity to have their say on what the visa reforms should include, how they feel the visa requirements and process should be structured, and then present the survey findings to key decision makers including the Home Secretary, Immigration Minister and Migration Policy.

Whilst not a great comparison, the last time this visa category called for an industry consultation was in 2014. At the time, there were just 43 respondents. With this recent survey conducted, we’ve had 160 responses. A breakdown of respondents can be viewed in the final response (Q28).

I am pleased to advise that; whilst not willing to meet, Immigration Minister, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP has responded to the survey being conducted, saying …the survey is of interest as it closely relates to some of our proposed reforms. Ms Nokes has also stated, the UK welcomes legitimate and genuine investors, and the reforms are aimed at protecting the UK and increasing economic benefit.  Migration Policy has also reviewed the survey in detail and I have discussed points raised at great length.


There were a number of interesting observations from the survey; a few of the key highlights are noted below –

Question 8 in the survey asked“The Home Office may require applications to demonstrate that they have been ‘in control of funds for at least two years’.”   Interestingly, 40% of respondents said, ‘Not necessary’.

Question 9 in the survey asked – “Do you believe Immigration Rules should be aligned to the widely accepted anti-money laundering standard the JMLSG (Joint Money Laundering Steering Group) Guidance?  74% of all respondents said, ‘Yes, agree’.

In the recent Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules, HC 1919 states, ‘No more Government Bonds’. Question 3 of the survey asked – “Does an investment in UK government bonds benefit the UK economy?”  54% of all respondents said, ‘Yes, agree’.

Question 15 in the survey asked – “Do you believe it is fair to restrict Investor Visa applicants to invest in higher risk investments, even if the investment may not be suitable to the individual?”  54% of all respondents said, ‘Unfair – and should not be permitted’.

Question 17 in the survey asked – “Do you believe UK government bonds should remain a qualifying investment for Tier 1 (Investor) Visa applicants?”  72% of all respondents said, ‘Yes, agree’.


[ I welcome you to share and utilise the results of this survey as you see fit, however please ensure author and source are appropriately referenced.]


So what do the reforms mean? Business as usual?

Yes! Not much has changed, and in my opinion these reforms will help reach the desired outcome. Ultimately it’s a step in the right direction.

The 2 year ‘control of funds’ rule versus 90 days shift does not change much on our side, as we look into this even deeper when onboarding and opening client accounts. Additional responsibility has been placed onto financial firms such as ourselves. This is something I welcome as it emphasises that investing in the UK for the purpose of a UK Tier 1 (Investor) visa is a specialist trade. Lawyers say to me daily that clients have their own bankers, but do they have this expertise?

Whilst I don’t agree personally either way on removing government bonds, nor do I object the removal as I can see the reasoning behind the decision. From a client risk perspective, similar corporate bond portfolios can be created by increasing credit risk from AA to BBB – which is not significant considering the investment universe.

Pooled investments where you are coinvested with entities such as the British Business Bank makes a lot of sense. Whilst not for everyone, it does bring more economic benefit to the country. Please do get in touch if you wish to discuss this.

So in summary, the new rules and reforms may take a few months to be understood, although I strongly believe it will be business as usual.


If you would like more information on the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, or would like to discuss this survey, please contact Farzin Yazdi – farzin.yazdi@shardcapital.com 


Important Information

“Shard Capital LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Important information: The information above is published solely for information purposes and is not to be construed as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments. It does not constitute a personal recommendation as defined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs of individual investors. The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount you invested. It should be remembered that past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of any information provided and no assurances or warranties are given. If you are unsure of the suitability of this product then you should contact and Independent Financial Adviser, authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.”

Office of National Statistics Data Release : UK grants 92 Investor Visas

As expected, today’s release of the latest ONS figures for Q4 2018 applications for the Tier 1 Investor Visa remains high. This comes as no surprise as on the 5th of December, the Home Office announced that it would ‘halt’ applications which led to many intended investors to apply in those 24 hours in order to have their application fall within the current rules.

The Home Office then later announced that it would not halt the program, however at a later stage it would reform the program. Therefore, we expect the high number of applicants to continue as more and more people make a decision to move to the UK whilst they know what the rules are.

“While in discussion with clients they explain that the uncertainty of future rules is something that worries them, especially with regards to which investments are permitted”, said Rafael Steinmetz Leffa, Head of China Desk at Shard Capital Investor Visa. “This concern is mostly referring to direct investments in the UK government, in the form of Government Bonds which is the preferred financial instrument for the vast majority of this type of investor.”

Whilst we note that the overall number of applications is slightly lower than the third quarter of 2018, it is worth highlighting that 50% of applications in the fourth quarter were from China and its SARs (Special Administrative Regions).  We also saw a rise in applications from countries in the Middle East.

2018 also saw the largest number of applicants since the Home Office increased the investment threshold from £1mil to £2mil in November 2014. This shows that investors remain bullish about the UK’s status as a hub for education, finance and investments overall.

If you would like more information on Shard Capital Investor Visa or the UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, please contact us.

ONS (Office of National Statistics) update – Time to review existing portfolios (And the Americans are coming!)

During Q3 2018, a total of 96 Tier 1 Investor Visas were issued. What stood out this quarter was the rise in US applicants and some Indian nationals who normally prefer the Entrepreneur category. The trend in strong demand from Chinese applicants, and the decline in Russian applicants continued during the quarter. Detailed breakdown below.

Commenting on the figures, Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital Farzin Yazdi said:

“The strong trend in Investor Visa applicants continued during the third quarter this year, despite the uncertainty with Brexit. In many of my meetings with new applicants, Brexit rarely comes up in conversation. It is the value of the pound and the many benefits the UK has to offer which dominates.

Immigration lawyers and advisors – it is time to review your existing clients’ portfolios with regards to the statement of changes (HC1154), especially to ensure your clients’ investment has been maintained. Please review before the end of the next reporting period, which for most will be the end of this calendar year.

It has recently been highlighted that investment management for Tier 1 (Investor) Visa applicants is a specialist area, with a number of banks and wealth managers withdrawing from this space. Having the right systems and controls in place that are adaptable to the latest immigration rules is key in remaining compliant. Identifying if investments have been maintained is not always straightforward. But we are here to help!”



Investment Migration Insider highlight the most popular ‘Golden Visa’ programs across the world

In an article published by Investment Migration Insider (IMI), the top 13 world’s most popular residence by investment programs have been highlighted, based on official statistics. Rankings have been defined based on ‘main applicants’, however also noted are visas granted for dependents.

At #13 is Latvia, a not so common option for those looking for a visa by investment, however has been deemed to be an ‘affordable option’ to immigrate to the EU and is being favoured by Russians.  In 2017, there were 379 investor visas issued including dependents, however only 119 were issued to main applicants.

Currently one of the most expensive Investor Visa programs is Australia. Since end of 2012, AUD$10 billion has been raised, predominantly from Chinese investors who make up nine out of ten applicants. Figures have however since dropped in the last 12 months due to tougher requirements specifically around source of wealth.  For year ending May 2018, there were 180 main applicant visas granted.

One country that has had much attention around Citizenship by Investment program is Malta which has had over 1,000 applications since the program launched. 560 of which have been received in the first half of 2018. Inclusive of dependents, there has been 700 visas approved in the last 12 months.

Also in the spotlight over the last few months has been the UK’s Tier 1 (Investor) Visa program which had an increase of 17% YOY in the first half of 2018; a surprising result according to Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital, Farzin Yazdi, given the introduction of new sanctions and the unknown of Brexit negotiations. For the 12-month period including Q2 of 2018 there were 998 visas granted, inclusive of dependents.

In top place for almost four decades is the US EB-5 program. Currently capped at 10,000 individual visas, in 2017 there were 7,567 visas granted, inclusive of dependents. However, this could soon be overtaken (by comparison) a tiny Greece if reforms are not enacted soon to allow for more applicants.

Commenting on the global statistics, Farzin Yazdi said “There are some surprising results in this list, however we know the low barriers to entry has been driving much of this. We welcome the introduction of stricter due diligence and compliance globally, as ultimately we believe investment should be made for the benefit of a local economy and community.”

For the full report and global breakdown, read the original article by Investment Migration Insider at https://www.imidaily.com/editors-picks/the-13-most-popular-golden-visas-in-the-world-according-to-the-data/

For more information on Investor Visas and Immigration by Investment, please contact Farzin Yazdi, Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital visa@shardcapital.com.

UK grants 92 Tier 1 (Investor) Visas

A total of 92 Tier 1 (Investor) visas were granted during the second quarter of this year, with dependents (143) not falling despite the January rule change. The attractiveness of the UK remains among HNW migrants despite the unknown outcome of Brexit negotiations.

As per previous releases, Chinese applicants accounted for the lion share of applicants at c35% followed by Russian applicants, which surprisingly saw an increase despite all of the news and introduction of new sanctions. Year on year for the first half of ‘18 there is an increase of 17% of UK Investor Visa applicants.

As we highlighted with the Q1 announcement, Turkish applicants have disappeared given the devaluation of the Lira. Investor Visas have always been a leading indicator of economic and political uncertainty. No other significant trends appeared in terms of country of origin this quarter.

Review your existing client portfolios! Further to the statement of changes and updated guidance circular, I strongly encourage immigration advisors and lawyers to review the accrued interest and declared dividends element of their clients portfolios. While this can be financially technical, we are more than happy to review this and are here to assist you on an anonymous and non-committal basis.


Also, make sure there is no loan secured against the portfolio and that the current provider can issue such a letter. It never ceases to amaze, the errors made which could easily be avoided. Investing for Investor Visa purposes requires expertise and experience which cannot be obtained by dabbling in this space.

If you would like a copy of the handout distributed at the ILPA economics working group, do not hesitate to contact us.

Rafael Steinmetz Leffa nominated on the CityWealth Future Leaders List

Client Relationship Manager at Shard Capital Investor Visa, Rafael Steinmetz Leffa has been nominated on the Citywealth Future Leaders List in the top Private Banker/Investment Manager of the Year category. A nominated on the Leaders List is a recognition of expertise by an individual’s peers and clients. The Citywealth Leaders List helps HNW and UHNW individuals to find recognised outstanding professionals across the Capital.

This award recognises outstanding achievement, industry knowledge, client management, satisfaction and retention, professional leadership and development, as well as involvement in Corporate Social Responsibility projects. Consideration is also given to the contribution to the individual’s wider business success and community.

Speaking on the nomination, Rafael said “It’s fantastic to be recognised by reputable body such as CityWealth so early on in my career. Regardless of the result, I am grateful to Shard Capital who have allowed us to develop our business offering, my colleagues both previous and present, however most importantly our valued clients. I hope to continue to develop my knowledge and experience both personally and professionally to continue to assist clients to the best of my ability.”

If you would like to cast your vote as a peer, client, or industry colleague, voting is open until 19 October 2018. https://bit.ly/2K8DaVS


Statement of Changes – UK Tier 1 Investor Visa

The eagerly anticipated Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules: HC1154 included two technical changes for UK Tier 1 (Investor) visa applicants.

Full statement of changes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigration-rules-hc1154-15-june-2018

Tier 1 (Investor)

7.11. The Tier 1 (Investor) category is for high net worth individuals making an investment of at least £2 million in the UK. The following changes are being made to this category:

– Applicants are required to maintain their investments. A change is being made to clarify that, while applicants may withdraw interest and dividend payments generated by their qualifying investments from their portfolios, they may not do so if these were generated before the applicant purchased the portfolio.

– As evidence of their investment, applicants must currently submit portfolio reports signed off by a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. A technical change is being made to require institutions to confirm that the funds have only been invested in qualifying investments, and that no loan has been secured against those funds. This change will put a further obligation on financial firms to scrutinise the suitability of applicants’ investments, in addition to their own due diligence.

Commenting on the changes, Farzin Yazdi Head of Shard Capital Investor Visa has said:

“I welcome these changes, especially the clarification that accrued interest now forms part of applicant’s investments. We also encourage Immigration Lawyers / Advisors to confirm that their clients Investment Managers are able to provide qualifying “signed off portfolio reports,” and letters stating that no loans have been secured against the client’s portfolio.

These new rules, coincide with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) which is also implementing borrowing and leverage restrictions. We continuously see UK Investor Visa applicants and their Investment Managers who dabble in this space making errors with regards to Investor Visa requirements on their investment portfolios and evidencing requirements. We are more than happy to review your clients investment compliance with the immigration rules in confidence with no obligation.”