Tier 1 Investor visas (‘golden visa’) to the UK were suspended effective 7 Dec 2018, which meant no applications would be accepted as of a date in this category. Any applications under process before this date would be processed normally.

The Tier 1 investor visa also dubbed as ‘golden visa’ allowed high net worth individuals who could park £ 2 million in investment in the UK to gain residence and to eventually qualify for British citizenship. The visa also allowed a fast track option for those investing £ 10 million to gain a settlement in 2 years and those investing £ 5 million to gain a settlement in 3 years – for them and their family members.

Whilst the British government claimed it was beneficial for the economy – its actual effect was still debatable. Whilst the previous requirements were for the applicants to demonstrate the investment funds and meet the ‘good character’ requirement. It is anticipated that the new rules are likely to involve a more comprehensive audit of the applicant’s financial status and their economic circumstances.

The new rules are likely to be introduced along with an introduction of newer categories like ‘startup visas’ and ‘innovator visas’ for graduate entrepreneurs and Tier 1 entrepreneurs.

It is important to note that despite the suspension of Tier 1 Investor visas the UK continues to be open to genuine investors and entrepreneurs with the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, visas for representatives of overseas business and Tier 2 sponsor license route for companies.

Meanwhile high net worth investors continue to have the option of purchasing citizenship either through investment in real estate in Cyprus [€ 2 million] or through contribution to the Government Malta [€ 1 million], Bulgaria [€ 460,000] in addition to St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, Dominica. Options are also available for investors to opt for the residence permit in Malta, Portugal, Spain.