Migration advisor calls for broader range of investment schemes

14 May 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A Government advisor is calling for a shake-up in the UK visa system to allow wealthy overseas investors to put money into British businesses and infrastructure in return for the right to live in the UK.

Professor Sir David Metcalf, who chairs the Government’s migration advisory committee, told the Daily Telegraph that the UK would see greater benefits from migration if such incentive schemes were available to investors. He believes it would also reduce some of the red tape that currently applies to high net worth individuals who want to invest in the UK.

Currently, Tier 1 investors in the UK must put money into Government gilts or invest in UK-registered companies. However, Sir David believes the British economy would reap greater rewards if overseas investors were able to divert money into start-up firms or infrastructure projects. His report to the Home Office suggests allowing investors to also put capital into alternative schemes providing finance for UK projects, such as venture capital or angel investment funds.

The suggestions have been put forward to Home Secretary Theresa May, who is currently considering the report. Sir David’s ideas have also received backing from the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Policy director, James Sproule, said: “We want people from all over the world to come to invest in the UK, but the Government shouldn’t be using these visas to boost the gilt market, there’s plenty of appetite for British government debt anyway. The IoD would support a change in the visa so all of the investment goes toward boosting British business.”