A dream country for many: one of the best places in the world to do business, study and work. Great Britain is the world center of science and culture, the Mecca of tourists and lovers of relaxation. The British kingdom attracts with developed healthcare, a high level of security, one of the oldest legal systems – the rights of immigrants, including property rights, will be protected. There are many opportunities for relocation: the country is waiting for qualified specialists, investors and innovators.
In the UK, as in many countries, there is a “golden visa” – a residence permit program for investment. An investor visa, or Tier 1 , allows you to move with your family to Foggy Albion, investing from £2 million in the capital of British companies. The residence permit can be extended, and then – to apply for permanent residence. The key conditions are the preservation of investments and residence in the country for the main part of the year.
It also operates several business immigration programs. Startup visa is aimed at young entrepreneurs who are just entering the local market; its main advantage is the absence of a requirement for a significant start-up capital. The innovator visa , in turn, is designed for experienced businessmen who are ready to invest in business in the United Kingdom from 50,000 pounds. In return, foreigners get the opportunity to apply for permanent residence and British citizenship.
UK immigration programs
UK residency by investment
UK Investor visa Tier 1
In February 2022, a message appeared on the website of the UK government that the Tier 1 investor visa program was closed “for security reasons.” The program, launched in 2008, provided for applicants to invest in the country’s economy from £2 million. For this amount, the investor could receive a temporary residence permit for himself and his immediate family, and in the future – permanent residence and citizenship. Recently, the UK has been heavily criticized and the country has been accused of “trading” residence permits for investment.
Key points about the program
The Tier 1 government program has been in existence since 2008 and has changed several times since then. The last change was made in March 2019. Then the minimum amount of investments was set at £2 million. Investments can be even higher – £5 million, £10 million. In this case, the period after which you can apply for a permanent residence permit (permanent residence) is also reduced. At the “minimum” £2 million, this is five years, with larger contributions, three and two years, respectively. However, this option applies only to the main investor and does not include members of his family.
Under the current terms of the program, you can only invest in private companies registered in the UK. Investments in real estate, government bonds or other assets will not be taken into account. Investments must be made within three months after obtaining a visa or entering the country; you can also include investments made within the last 12 months in the application. Capital must be retained for the entire duration of the residence permit.
The program is governed by UK immigration law. In 2020, 216 applicants and 375 family members received a Tier 1 investor visa. In recent years, the number of visa recipients has been declining due to stricter requirements.
UK start-up visa
Start-up visa for Great Britain
The Startup Visa is aimed at young non-Eurozone businessmen entering the UK market for the first time. A residence permit cannot be renewed or used as a step towards obtaining citizenship, but after the expiration date, you can apply for an innovator visa, and only then count on permanent residence in the UK.
The main advantages of this program are the absence of a fixed starting capital, the ability to work both alone and in a team of entrepreneurs. But you need to be fluent in English and offer a business that can benefit the country’s economy.
Key points about the program
From March 29, 2019, the UK stopped issuing visas for start-ups and experienced entrepreneurs – Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, respectively. But I replaced these permissions with Tier 1 Startup Visa and Tier 1 Innovator Visa .
The main document that an entrepreneur entering the British market for the first time must provide is an approval from an accredited company, which can be a higher education institution in the UK or a business organization that has the support of local entrepreneurs. The full list of approved enterprises is published on the official government website .
There are no requirements for initial capital in the law. But the applicant must have sufficient funds to ensure his stay in the UK.
Not only start-up businessmen from outside the Eurozone can apply for a start-up visa, but also those who are already in the UK. For example, holders of Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur (after one year) can switch to it, or those who have Tier 2 and Tier 4 (with restrictions) can apply.
A start-up visa is issued only once and is valid for two years, after which you can apply for a three-year innovator visa , and only further – for permanent residence (ILR).