Government reluctant to grant UK visas to overseas business applicants

27 Oct 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The number of UK visas granted to representatives from overseas businesses by the British government has fallen by around 11 per cent since the British public voted to leave the European Union last summer, according to a new survey.

Conducted by law firm Collyer Bristow, the survey revealed that only 125 UK visas were granted to foreign business representatives in the year ending March 2017, compared to the 140 applications granted within the previous 12 months.

A UK visa granted to a representative of an overseas business allows them the right to remain within the UK for three years while they consider investing or expanding in the UK.

The survey revealed that the highest number of successful applications were from business professionals based in Australia and the US, with each region receiving 20 UK visas. China and India were next in line, receiving 15 visas each, while business representatives from Japan received 10.

According to Collyer Bristow, many of these visas are granted to representatives of hi-tech industries, which could result in the government losing large amounts of tax revenue should numbers continue to fall.

Commenting on the figures, James Badcock, a lawyer at Collyer Bristow, said that the government’s apparent reluctant to grant business visas could also affect levels of trade, investment, innovation and competition.

“The drop in overseas business visas granted could mean the UK misses out on large amounts of investment and tax revenue,” Mr Badcock added.

“More visas have been applied for year on year, but far fewer have been granted since the Brexit vote,” he said. “The figures suggest the Home Office has clamped down on overseas business visas since the Brexit vote.”