Home Office confirms chaotic U-turn on the suspension of Tier 1 (Investor) visas.
The Home Office has rowed back last week’s announcement that the Tier 1 (Investor) route was suspended with near-immediate effect. It was widely reported last Thursday that the route would be closed to new applications from midnight the next day due to concerns over money laundering, but the department provided no official confirmation beyond the press release evidently sent to news organisations, and the online application system remains live. Today the Migration Policy team at the Home Office has confirmed in an email that:
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended. However, the Government remains committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course. Any suspension would be implemented through changes to the Immigration Rules.
Richard Ford of the Times reports that the suspension was delayed, despite being already announced as fact, “after opposition from other government departments”. The only thing out there that suggested the unexpected suspension of the investor route last week were identical quotes from the Immigration Minister published by some of the press. If the Minister did provide the information quoted in the media but a decision was then made that the suspension would not go ahead, whilst good news for applicants, this is reckless, to say the least. It is extremely important to the integrity of the UK’s immigration system that any changes made to key immigration routes are made formally and with sufficient notice.
On Thursday 6 December, the BBC, Times and Guardian all reported that the Tier 1 (Investor) route was to be closed to new applicants more or less immediately and quoted the immigration minister as follows: The UK will always be open to legitimate and genuine investors who are committed to helping our economy and businesses grow. However, I have been clear that we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system. That is why I am bringing forward these new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.