The Investor visa closed for new applicants with immediate effect on 17th February 2021. It remains open for extension applications and applications for settlement. There are no changes to the extension or settlement requirements.
No prior announcement of the closure was made and the government chose to step aside from its standard policy of giving 21 days’ notice of any changes in the immigration rules to avoid last minute influx of applications.
In the News Story published on the Government website, the Home Secretary described the closure of the route as “the start of our renewed crackdown on fraud and illicit finance” and an attempt to stop “corrupt elites who threaten our national security”. She justified the immediate measure as necessary to prevent abuse of the immigration system making a vague reference to concerns over national security.
Reform to the current route
Reform to the Investor route is expected to take shape in the amendments to the Innovator route which will allow the government “to target investors we want in the country”. Settlement under the new route will be conditional on executing an investment strategy that showed genuine job creation and other “tangible economic impacts”
The amendments to the Innovator Route are expected to go live in autumn.
Other routes available at present
Until the innovator route gets its shape, available immigration routes for high net worth individuals remain Skilled Worker route (sponsored employment), Global talent (endorsement required), Start up or Innovator visa (both requiring endorsement from a recognised endorsing body).
To read further on this topic, please see our blog post.