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| 1 minute read

Is Britain closed for business?

Although the rumour that the Home Office was planning to discontinue the Tier 1 Investor Visa has been all over the news for the last day or so, it was nevertheless a shock to read Priti Patel's announcement that the route has been closed today with immediate effect. This immigration route allowed people to come to and remain in the UK following an investment in the UK of at least £2 million and offered quicker routes to settled status for those willing to invest £5 million or £10 million.

Putting aside the fact that it now seems acceptable to make important policy change announcements via Twitter, such a move makes it seem hard to argue that post-Brexit Britain is indeed "open for business".

The decision is said to be part of a crackdown on fraud and illicit finance.  Countering such problems is, of course, vital, and it has to be acknowledged that abuse of this immigration route has been under review for some time. However, the move to shut it down entirely with almost no notice seems like rather a blunt instrument and ignores the numerous investor visa applications which are perfectly legitimate, bringing much needed investment to the UK, as well as all the other benefits (in terms of spending power, tax take and other positives) that such individuals bring when they move here.

The UK has a fantastically beneficial tax system for wealthy non-doms, which is designed to attract foreign talent and investment into the country. However, following Brexit, Britain is no longer part of the EU's freedom of movement of persons, meaning even more people are reliant on visa routes in order to come to the UK. With the closure of this visa route as well, which has traditionally been one the most attractive option to wealthy non-doms, I wonder how many people will be able to take advantage of our tax system, if they can't come to the country in the first place.

The Home Secretary has taken decisive action to shut the Tier 1 Investor visa route to all new applicants from all nationalities with immediate effect.


brexit, immigration, private client, personal tax