UK Could See Significant Drop In Foreign Investment If Visa Delays Continue
Personal immigration experts at leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth are warning that delays on visa renewals for foreign investors could become the new reality with Brexit.
The warning comes after it was confirmed by sources that Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, who primarily resides in Russia, had faced delays in renewing his Tier 1 Investor visa. Irwin Mitchell’s immigration team says it is a reminder that extreme wealth and promises of investment does not automatically guarantee entry into the UK under the current environment.
MrAbramovich has significant business interests in the UK, having contributed financially to Chelsea FC during his tenure as manager of the club. He is also reputed to own a £90m property in Kensington and substantial assets in the UK.
The Russian billionaire has since immigrated to Israel and has been granted Israeli citizenship. As an Israeli citizen, he will be allowed to enter the UK for six months at a time but will be unable to carry out any paid or unpaid work while in the UK.
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The change in the government’s approach is symptomatic of a wider crackdown. On the 28 March 2018 the UK Home Office confirmed it was conducting a review of visas issued to foreign investors from 2008 to 2015, affecting thousands of high-net-worth individuals who currently reside or have business interests in the UK.
According to immigration experts at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, most Tier 1 Investor visas are issued to Russian and Chinese investors, who are required to invest a minimum of £2m in funds in the UK economy.
Mandeep Khroud, immigration expert and senior associate at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, said: “It should come as no surprise that we’re beginning to see delays in renewing Tier 1 investor visas.
“Brexit works both ways. The UK voted for more control over immigration, and that applies to high-net-worth foreign investors as well as the headline-grabbing migrant population the media focuses on.
“Lately we have been receiving enquiries from these investors who want advice on what to do now that their business interests are being looked at with much more scrutiny than before.”
The Abramovich case could result in unintended ramifications for the UK economy. The Tier 1 Investor visas provide a lucrative flow of investment funding for UK businesses – if difficulties were to arise in renewing or applying for visas, the UK could see a downturn in applications and as a result, less inward investment.
“It’s entirely possible that our economy will suffer as a result of this,” Mandeep added. “Less foreign investment into the UK would result in reduced inward investment and as a consequence impact the UK’s ability to compete as a major player in the world economy.
“Visa renewals can be extremely complicated if there are multiple assets and corporate structures involved, so it’s important to get the application correct from the start. With Brexit making life even more difficult for them, foreign investors may just decide not to bother in the future.”