Demand Continues – 124 Investor Visas granted in Q2 2019

22 August 2019

By Farzin Yazdi, Head of Investor Visa at Shard Capital

Open for business!

The data release today of 124 UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa main applicants came in above expectations following the statement of changes HC1919 on the 7th of March 2019. Over 55% of applicants were Chinese* nationals with 10% of total applicants from Hong Kong. The other interesting change was a spike of Americans whom accounted for nearly 10% of applicants.

Despite the uncertainties, Britain remains an attractive destination. Even last week we have heard that one of the largest pub retailers and brewers is being taken over by a well-known Hong Kong firm; a record amount of foreign direct investment into the Tech sector; and the stock markets are at a near record low compared to other developed countries on valuation metrics. The weakness of the Pound is a comment which I am hearing over and over again in client meetings.

No more Government Bonds, now what?

With the removal of UK Government bonds as a qualifying investment, an applicant who does not have the investment experience nor knowledge may require a discretionary manager to achieve their desired risks and investment objectives. For those who wish to maintain a low risk portfolio, the choice may be a portfolio of selected Investment Grade corporate bonds. I have always been highlighting how different it is to manage a portfolio for Investor Visa purposes versus an ordinary portfolio. Some elements such as maintaining investments and investing for the economic benefit of the country may be simple concepts, but go against most investment management styles.

What does the future hold?

One potential change missing from the previous immigration minister’s speech last December regarding Investor Visa’s is the “independent audit” of applicants financial affairs, which was rumoured to be coming in this Autumn’s statement of changes. 

The survey I conducted earlier this year focussed on this specifically, in questions 6 to 11 focussing on ‘the where and how’ a truly independent audit could be achieved. Most of respondents (almost 75%) stated that this was somewhat necessary or necessary. Interestingly, around the same number of respondents stated that immigration rules should be aligned with financial and tax regulation. The full results of the survey are here for all to see and use, but please quote source. Other countries have adopted similar practices strengthening their RCBI programmes. I am looking forward to see which firms will be selected (if any) and how this will work in practice.

Best regards
Farzin Yazdi

*includes special administrative regions (SAR)

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