On 17th February 2022, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced abruptly that she had closed the Investor visa category to new entrants. She enthusiastically tweeted, “I’ve closed the Tier 1 Investor visa with immediate effect following our review of all those granted. This is just the start of our renewed crackdown on fraud and illicit finance.”
The move came as quite a shock to many of us UK immigration practitioners due to how quickly it happened. Usually, changes are announced 21 days before they occur but the shock and awe approach was deliberate due to concerns from the Government that announcing an end to the category would lead to an influx of applications. The Home Secretary’s wording regarding a review of existing visa holders was particularly concerning as a large number of international investor clients work extremely hard to comply with the Home Office’s already stringent rules, with a genuine wish to invest in the UK.
The Investor visa category first emerged in 1994. Applicants were required to have a minimum investment of £1 million, with at least £750,000 to be invested in UK government bonds or active and trading UK-registered companies. The remaining £250,000 could be held in a UK bank account or used to purchase UK-based assets such as property.
Over the years the requirements were adapted to include the ability to access loan facilities if the applicant had £2 million in personal wealth, fast-track access to Indefinite Leave Remain, depending on higher levels of investment and in 2014, an attempt was made to make the route more profitable to the UK by raising the minimum investment threshold from £1 million to £2 million, with an added requirement that 100 percent of the funds be invested. Loan-based investments were also disallowed.
Between then and the changes last week, there have been concerns about the potential to abuse the visa category, with an increase in applications from Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and funds acquired illegally being used for the application, thus concerns of money laundering through the UK immigration system.
While these concerns are legitimate and there are no doubt individuals who have attempted to use the system to their benefit, there are also a significant number of investors who are genuine, who have only looked to boost the UK economy and are attracted to the UK and all it can offer for their families including top schools and a way of life. For those, the change is disappointing.
Many clients have already jumped through the numerous compliance hurdles, including criminal record checks, evidencing the source of funds, demonstrating these funds have been held for two years, ensuring they already had funds in a UK bank account, the opening of which should have triggered a high level of “know your client” due diligence as an additional level of protection to the Government.
For these clients and their families who are already in the UK on the visa route, it will be possible to extend their status for a further two years, apply for settlement, or for their family members to join them in the UK, however with potentially more rigid conditions.
The Government have said that a new version of the category could be introduced but following the replacement of the Entrepreneur visa with the Innovator/ Start-up schemes, which have not been as popular as their predecessor, it remains to be seen how the Government will attract investors, particularly those who may have been going through the expensive steps of the initial process before the category was so brutally shut without notice.
If you are an existing Investor visa holder and have a query about your status, or if you wish to receive advice about alternative visa routes following the closure, you can contact Rhona at [email protected] for further guidance.
Rhona was recognised in the Legal 500 rankings for 2022 as a “Key Lawyer” for her business and personal immigration arrangements expertise.
As part of our new website launch, we would like to reintroduce you to our team. Today’s post features our Head of Business Immigration, Rhona Azir. Rhona is a former newspaper journalist who embarked on her legal studies and career in 2009.
Now a dual-qualified Solicitor and Chartered Legal Executive in England and Wales, Rhona works remotely from Milton Keynes but assists clients and travels to meetings throughout the country.
Rhona’s role involves helping businesses and high-net-worth individuals navigate the rules relating to obtaining a visa to invest in, setting up a business, employing migrant workers, or working in the UK. Colleagues have described her as a “safe pair of hands” for combining attention to detail with knowledge gained through almost ten years of immigration experience.
The highlight of her career has been assisting a young client with a discretionary application to remain in the UK to access necessary cancer treatment and being listed as a “Key Lawyer” in the Legal 500 rankings for 2022 for business and personal immigration.
Also a budding advocate, Rhona aims to qualify as a solicitor advocate and is looking forward to getting more involved with the firm’s immigration litigation work.
Rhona has two young children and loves taking them for walks to the many lakes and nature reserves in Milton Keynes. She enjoys ice skating, ballet, learning languages, and looking into the history of her Trinidadian and Indian heritage.
All employers in the UK are required to carry out right to work checks to ensure workers have adequate right to work, prevent illegal working, and ensure that they can establish a statutory excuse against liability for a penalty.
Failure to carry out the checks by Home Office policy could lead to a civil penalty of £20,000 per illegal worker, potentially a criminal conviction for more serious cases as well as an array of other penalties, including no longer being able to sponsor migrants, disqualification as a director or seizure of earnings.
Before COVID-19, the majority of right to work checks were carried out in person. With the sudden introduction of homeworking, the Home Office made the exception to allow checks to be carried out online, but they made it clear that this would be a temporary measure.
However, as COVID-19 has proven to be one of the most unpredictable situations in recent times, the Home Office has been adapting to the uncertainty by extending the deadline. Most recently, they extended the end to their temporary right to work adjustments until 5 April 2022. But what does this mean for employers?
Employers will be allowed to carry out right to work checks remotely via video calls until the deadline. The potential employee can then send accepted document copies by email or an app or use an online right to work checking service if eligible and provide the employer with a share code. One point to note is that any checks made using the COVID-19 right to work rules between 30 March 2020 and 5 April 2022 will not need to be carried out again.
The news is a welcome development for employers, many of whom are navigating the complexities of their workforce returning to the office and comes as the Home Office have announced that they are conducting a review of technology to develop a new digital solution for the right to work checks.
Further development in right to work checks relates to EU nationals. For existing employees who came to the UK before 1 July 2021 from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, it is not necessary to carry out further right to work checks.
However, employers can no longer accept an EU passport or ID card as sufficient evidence of the right to work in the UK for new European employees. Please note that it is not necessary to carry out retrospective checks on existing EU national employees.
Should you wish to understand the right to work rules or find out more about which documents a potential employee should provide to prove their right to work, please contact our reception on 01234 350244 to speak to a member of the Business Immigration team.
Putting up a company entails a lot of responsibilities. It’s not easy to run a business, especially if the roles of the key people behind it are not clearly defined. If you happen to be the company director, what are your duties and responsibilities? This article will tell you what you need to know and inform you of your rights and obligations.
First, let’s define what a director is. To put it simply, that person manages the affairs of the company. All companies have at least one director. That individual is usually appointed and can either be a “de facto director” or a “shadow director” in which the other directors and staff follow your instructions.
As expected, the duties and responsibilities of company directors are varied. That person is expected to perform the following:
Directors who fail to do their duties well risk suffering from serious consequences. If found guilty, they can be criminally charged and be imprisoned for five years or fined up to $200,000. They may be disqualified from managing any company in the future. In some cases, erring directors may be held personally liable for company losses.
Many are unaware that being a “de facto” or “shadow director” gives them the same duties as validly appointed directors. This misunderstanding can cause problems later, especially if they don’t know this. Failing to disclose conflicts of interests is another common problem that directors may face. Directors must also take steps to monitor the company’s solvency, cash flow, and debts or risk being liable for future debts.
If you are confused about your rights and responsibilities as a company director, get in touch with the friendly lawyers of Deo Volente (DV) Solicitors in Bedford, UK. We will gladly provide you with the information you need so you can act accordingly. Don’t hesitate to call us for clarification. We are here to help.
The last year has presented some extreme and firsthand challenges in the business world, where every business owner had to deal with the unexpected, no matter the company size.
The year 2020 fetched a level of uncertainty that none of us saw coming. This has made it very challenging for most organisations that needed to immediately pivot business models and operational processes to stay agile to the new circumstances.
While there are industry-specific issues and vary on the business model, the following list portrays the most common legal issues that many UK business owners faced throughout last year.
Things can be too frantic and fast-paced in today’s modern business operations and can cause legal complications if proper documentation is not drafted to avoid any arising legal issues.
For this reason, preparing appropriate documentation and seeking legal consultation from a business litigation solicitor is necessary to avoid any lawsuit that can place your organisation at stake.
Typically the second most significant cost of any business, whether big or small, is legal fees. The cost of legal services is one of the main factors small business owners elude hiring a solicitor until it is almost too late.
However, many business owners do not really understand the significance of having efficient and proper legal representation. They are not fully aware of the massive benefit and advantage of getting legal support to the business.
That’s why establishing your legal matters efficiently should be on top priority.
With Deo Volente Solicitors, you can streamline all legal matters surrounding your business.
Our Business and Commercial litigation cover all aspects affecting the establishment and operation of your business. This includes corporations, partnerships, tax law, competition and consumer law, property, and employment law, impacting the overall business.
Our Business Litigation Solicitors team can work with you and your accountant to get the structure right and optimize your business’s operation and contracts.
We will support you by seizing every opportunity, managing risks, and putting in place the most tax-effective structure whilst operating the business and when you want to exit.
Repeatedly recognised as one of the leading dispute resolution solicitors in the UK, our litigation team is skilled in remaining focused on your end goal and applying good commercial sense throughout.
Our specialist firm is noted for resolving complex disputes for major British banks and financial institutions, leading insolvency firms, multinational property, construction companies, and disputes, whilst advising clients across various industries.
We carefully listen and question our clients and promptly present an objective assessment of your position, align that assessment with your end goal and recommend immediate steps to be taken.
Get in touch with us today and speak about your business matters to one of our commercial solicitors.
We will be with you from start to finish.
The novel outbreak of coronavirus has been widely reported to have a huge impact on businesses where they may not be able to satisfy their contractual obligations and may face legal action as a consequence.
But whether the virus can be classed as a Force Majeure event is one which is strictly interpreted by the English Courts. A force majeure refers to a clause in contracts where liability can be prevented for natural and unavoidable disasters which restrict parties from fulfilling their obligations.
This is a question which will be at the forefront of many businesses. To begin with parties to a contract will only be able to consider force majeure if there is an express clause in their contract. Note that a force majeure clause cannot be implied into English law contract. Albeit even if there is an express force majeure clause in a contract, this does not mean that the clause can be relied on to protect against claims for non – performance as a result of corona virus. Due to the strict approach of the courts, it will be necessary to carefully analyse the clause.
Therefore if you are someone who has been affected by this or are worried you will be unable to satisfy your contractual obligations, feel free to give us a call to schedule a 30-minute free consultation on 01234 350 244.