Risk warning: The value of investments and derived income can fall. Investors may get back less than they invested.

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!”

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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.

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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.