A number of problems have been highlighted for people trying to obtain a UK visa via the Tier 2 route, but it appears that wealthy investors using the Tier 1 route are also being put off by changes to the system.
The minimum investment required to secure a Tier 1 UK visa doubled from £1 million to £2 million at the end of 2014. Now figures for the nine months to September show that just 136 applications were made to enter the UK on a Tier 1 visa, compared to 780 in the same period the previous year.
It is the first time that the number of applications has fallen since the scheme was introduced in 2009 when 180 people applied. A record number of 510 applications were made at the end of 2014 as investors tried to secure a Tier 1 visa before the investment requirement increased. That boosted last year’s total figure to 1,290.
The major fall-off has been among wealthy Chinese and Russian applicants, The Guardian reported. In addition to the higher investment sum, the economies of both nations have slowed over the last year and their currencies have weakened against the pound, meaning that the new minimum investment may be out of reach for many wealthy people in Russia and China.
Sergey Litovchenko, of law firm Pinsent Masons, said: “The level of the investment required for a Russian national to apply for a tier one visa has increased four times in comparison to pre-November 2014. GBP to rouble exchange rate has gone up from 50 rouble to £1, to 100 rouble to £1, and the level of the minimum investment increased from £1 million to £2 million.”