The UK Government has announced that it is temporarily suspending the Tier 1 (Investor) scheme from midnight tonight.
This has been done due to perceived abuse of the scheme and concerns around money laundering.
It plans to introduce a new scheme, which is likely to involve applicants going through an enhanced due diligence process relating to their source of wealth and change the type of investments that qualify under the Tier 1 (Investor) category. Investments in UK Government Bonds will no longer be accepted and only investments in UK trading companies will satisfy the criteria.
Interestingly, it appears that the UK Government is going to allow investments through pooled investment companies, which are not currently permitted, provided they are focused on investing in small and medium sized enterprises and UK start-ups.
These changes will only affect new applicants and will not apply to those looking to extend their stay in the UK under this category or apply for indefinite leave to remain (also known as permanent residence or settlement).
The Government is looking to publish further details of the new requirements shortly.
This means that individuals who are currently in the UK under the scheme should not be affected by any changes. Those looking to apply under the category will find that they will need to submit additional supporting documents with their applications which will then be subject to increased checks. This will inevitably lead to increased processing times.
Investor visa scheme halted in money laundering crackdown