What Is a Tier 1 Investor Visa?
There are many options for visas for the UK, however, some are easier to apply for than others. The Tier 1 Investor visa is no longer a valid UK visa, although people who had previously entered the UK with this visa before 17 February 2022 may still reside there with the investor visa.
What was the Tier 1 investor visa and what’s the best alternative to the investor visa? You’re about to find out.
How the Tier 1 Investor Visa Worked
Up to 17 February 2022, the Tier 1 investor visa was a way of enabling wealthy business people and investors to enter and live in the UK and support the UK economy. Applicants were required to invest at least £2 million in the UK to obtain residency more quickly and easily than applicants for other visas due to the enormous amount of money that would support the economy and encourage economic growth, which also gained it the nickname the Golden Visa.
The Tier 1 investor visa was scrapped in 2022 due to concerns that the visa program was being abused by criminals to enter the UK and launder money or commit other, largely financial, crimes. Similarly, the ICT visa was also replaced in April 2022.
If you were a resident of the UK under this visa before 17 February 2022, you are still legally permitted to remain in the UK, and if you submitted your application before this date, your application will still go ahead. However, any application submitted after this date will not be considered and you should search for an alternative to the investor visa for entrance to the UK.
What is an Alternative to the Investor Visa?
There are many types of visas available for people wishing to enter and reside in the UK, including:
- Global Talent visa
- Innovator Founder visa
- Skilled Worker visa (previously Tier 2, T2 or International Sportsperson visa)
- Scale-up Worker visa
- Turkish Worker or Businessperson visa
- International Agreement visa, or are a domestic worker for a family that has an International Agreement visa
However, not every visa is right for everyone, so it’s important to understand what visa is best for your case and what documents you need before you start any application.
What’s a Global Talent Visa?
The Global Talent Visa is possibly the best alternative to the Tier 1 Investor Visa as it looks for industry leaders who wish to come to the UK to work as a leader in one of the following areas:
- Academia or research
- Arts and culture
- Digital technology
The visa is designed to replicate the investor visa but with a clear emphasis on talent over finances. To obtain this visa you’ll need an endorsement or “relevant award” stating your ability to be a leader in your industry which usually takes the form of a job offer from a relevant institution, a fellowship, a letter of approval of your relevant expertise or approval from Tech Nation if your application is for the digital technology industry. There are no salary requirements for this visa.
With the global talent visa, you can stay and work in the UK for up to 5 years, following which you can apply for an extension or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) to reside there for longer. You can also apply for British citizenship after living in the UK for 5 years. You can also bring your spouse and dependents to the UK with you and change jobs at any time without notifying the authorities.
However, if you are in the UK on a global talent visa, you cannot claim most state benefits and are unable to work as a sportsperson. The global talent visa costs £623 and takes around 3 weeks if you’re applying from outside the UK.
What’s an Innovator Visa?
An Innovator Founder Visa is another viable option if you were looking to apply for the Tier 1 Investor Visa. An innovator founder visa requires applicants to have a unique and innovative business idea to found a business in the UK that will create jobs and expand into national and international markets. Applicants must also prove their ability to read, write and speak in English. This is different from a Sole Representative Visa, which allows you to move to the UK to run a branch of a company that you already work for, and the Start-Up Visa which was more flexible, but still required endorsement.
To apply for an innovator founder visa in the UK, you need an endorsing body to approve your business plan for your application to go through, as well as a check-up from your endorsing body after one year and 2 years to monitor the progress of your business – they can withdraw their endorsement if your business is unsuccessful, which may cut short your residency in the UK.
The innovator founder visa allows applicants to stay in the UK for up to 3 years and the initial fee is £1,036 for the applicant and each of their family members who wish to join them in the UK.
What’s a Skilled Worker Visa?
A Skilled Worker Visa was previously known as the Tier 2 visa and is another potential visa for applicants wishing to reside and work in the UK, who don’t fit in the category of industry leader in academia, the sciences, arts or digital technology, or have a viable business plan for the innovator founder visa. However, the title of “skilled worker” only applies to select jobs; you can find the code for your job on the ONS Occupation Coding Tool, before then checking if your job is viable for the skilled worker visa on the government website.
Once you have confirmed your job title is eligible for the skilled worker visa, and obtained a sponsorship letter from a valid UK employer, you need to prove your ability to read, write, and speak in English. Your employer must also pay you an approved minimum wage, either £10.75 per hour, £26,200 per year or your industry standard wage – depending on which figure is higher.
The visa fee depends on your job but ranges from £625 to £1,423, which you must pay as well as the Health Surcharge of £624 and have at least £1,270 in your bank account to cover your costs in your first month in the UK unless you can prove your employer will cover this cost for you.
What’s the Easiest Visa to Obtain UK?
No visa for the UK is easy to obtain and the ease of your application depends on your situation, however, the government does clearly outline each visa’s requirements so you can apply for each visa relatively easily. The easiest way to settle in the UK is perhaps with the EU Settlement Scheme as if you have a close family member who lived in the UK before 31 December 2020 under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be eligible to join them, as well as have the right to work in the UK.
However, if you’re not from an EU or EEA country or don’t already have close family living in the UK, this is not a viable option. Instead, you could potentially apply for a UK Student Visa.
How to Apply for a Student Visa UK
For a Student Visa in the UK, you’ll need a letter of acceptance on a course at a registered British or Northern Irish institution, as well as sufficient funds to be able to pay your course fees and support yourself through your course. Depending on the length of your course, you may be eligible to work part-time while you’re studying in the UK, however, you’ll still need to show sufficient funds in your accessible accounts when you apply for your student visa.
You’ll also need to have had the relevant vaccinations or medical tests to enter the UK, as well as the proven ability to understand and communicate well in English. A student visa costs £363 to apply from outside the UK, and you should have a response within 3 weeks of submitting your application.
UK Visa Application Help – Synergy Immigration Solutions
Understanding UK visa requirements and which visa is most suitable for you can be complicated, leading to many people having their applications rejected or simply being put off their dreams.
But don’t let the paperwork get you down! Synergy Immigrations Solutions are here to help you apply for your UK visa. Contact us now to find out how we can help you!