UK – Investor route to a visa closed for those with £2m to invest – but alternatives remain for those wanting to invest in the UK

Posted on 3rd January, 2022
, in UK 

Estimated reading time 5 minutes

With the spotlight on wealthy Russians having used the Investor route as a quick path to settlement in the UK the Home Office closed this visa route to new applicants with immediate effect on 17 February 2022. Existing Investor migrants will be able to extend their visas and apply to settle, provided they meet the Rules, but it is to be expected that there will be greater scrutiny of people seeking to stay in the UK based on money they have invested. So, the question arises what alternatives are there for people who had a minimum of £2 million to invest in the UK?

Innovator Visa

Firstly, the Home Office have stated that it will amend the often-criticised Innovator visa route to provide an investment-related migration option in autumn 2022. At present to qualify on this path you must show:
  • you want to set up and run an innovative new business in the UK - it must be something that’s different from anything else on the market
  • your business or business idea has been endorsed by an approved body, also known as an endorsing body
  • you meet the other eligibility criteria including the English language criteria and being able to prove you have enough personal savings to support yourself
  • You have investment funds of £50,000 available
Under this route you can qualify for settlement after 3 years.

Start-up Visa

To be eligible for this visa your business must be endorsed by an approved body, which for this route is either a UK higher education authority or a business organisation which supports entrepreneurs. Your business must also be:
  • innovative - you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • viable, with potential for growth
There is no requirement for investment funds to be available. These visas are valid for 2 years and if you want to stay longer you would have to switch to an Innovator visa or another work route.

Representative of An Overseas Business Visa

To apply on this route a business must have no presence in the UK. It will need to be headquartered overseas and want to establish itself in the UK but keep its headquarters overseas. The business must choose an employee to represent it who holds a senior position and has full authority to make decisions on its behalf in the UK.  The chosen individual must be an existing employee and have relevant industry experience. They cannot be a majority shareholder of the business; they might have founded the business but in that case must now own less than 50% of it.


Once again, the Home Office have acted quickly without fully thinking through the situation. They have closed a path, first introduced in 1994, where Russian applicants made up only about 10% of applications in recent years. There is no ready replacement to the Investor visa, and it will be at least 6 months until one of the other routes is changed to attract investors. We will have to wait and see what takes its place.

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This article was produced by Jonathan Martin, Senior Consultant, at Abbiss Cadress, England, UK, a CELIA Alliance member firm. For further information or if you have any queries relating to the content of this communication, please contact us. CELIA Alliance CELIA Alliance members are identified here. Members of the CELIA Alliance are each independent law firms and do not practice law jointly with any other member of the CELIA Alliance. "CELIA Alliance" and "CELIA" are not trading names. For more information about the CELIA Alliance click here. Disclaimer Content is for general information purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive and it does not constitute or contain legal or other advice. If you require assistance in relation to any issue please seek specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances. In particular, no responsibility shall be accepted by the authors or by Abbiss Cadres LLP for any losses occasioned by reliance on any content appearing on or accessible from this newsletter. For further legal information click here. Circular 230 disclosure To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS and other taxing authorities, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Copying If you would like to copy or otherwise reproduce this article then you may do so provided that: (1) any such copy or reproduction is for your own personal use or if it is made available to any third party it is done so on a free of charge basis; and (2) the article is reproduced in full together with the contact details, disclaimer and any logos as they appear on each article.