Immigration to the UK is getting harder since the last election

Date: 05 Oct 2016

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Rose Carey, partner and head of the Charles Russell Speechly’s Immigration group, also says that since Cameron doubled the required investment from £1m to £2m for the Tier 1 (Investor) visa,  the number of applications has dropped by more than a half across the private wealth sector.


Following the Brexit vote, what is your advice for the EU nationals?

People should remain calm until the date when we actually exit, which should be in the early spring 2019, as indicated by Theresa May last weekend. Until then, all EU policies regarding free movement apply to all EU citizens. However, EU citizens shouldn’t be complacent. EU nationals who have lived in the UK for the past five years are likely get a permanent residence and it is advisable for them to do so. Having their status confirmed by a document will exclude them from immigration control when we exit in 2019. Another advantage of permanent residence is that after twelve months they can apply for British citizenship.

For those who have lived in the UK for less than five years, they might still be eligible to apply for an EEA registration certificate which is a document that confirms their status here as EU nationals protected by EU Treaty rights. This document could prove useful as there are rumours the Government might try to backdate the immigration control, given that they are worried the Brexit announcement will trigger a surge of immigration from the EU. One of the theories is that they will backdate the immigration control to the date of Referendum but we’ll see.

What effect will Brexit have on UK businesses?

Many businesses get their employees to apply for permanent residence and some even support their employees by providing free access to legal advice. Employers are mainly concerned about what will happen to their key staff when we Brexit. It is also unclear what will happen if they want to bring new staff to the UK after Brexit. Finally, some sectors like care work are worried, as the role of care assistant is currently not skilled enough to get a visa for. As many workers in this sector are from Eastern Europe, there is a lot concern about what will happen after Brexit.

Cameron doubled the required investment from £1m to £2m for the Tier 1 (Investor) visa application. How did that impact UHNW clients planning to invest in the UK?

In terms of new applicants, the numbers have significantly dropped. Clients are now shopping around and looking at alternative programmes in Europe, for example in Malta and Cyprus, that offer citizenship by investment programmes, but Spain and Portugal are also interesting destinations. Previously, UHNW clients would just go for the Investment visa but now they will look at different visa categories, such as Entrepreneur, so the volume of our clients hasn’t really dropped. As far as Investment visa are concerned, the number of applications has dropped by more than a half across the private wealth sector.

What trends do you see in immigration?

The Government is responding to public concern about immigration and we definitely see that immigration to the UK is getting harder since the last election. We also see a lot of enforcement action, in particular requiring businesses to cooperate with the Home Office, like we’ve seen in the case of Byron burger chain, where dozens of foreign workers have been arrested in an immigration raid.

This article was published in Citywealth Weekly, our mid-week roundup of topical news and exclusive expert comments. Sign up here to start receiving the Weekly in your inbox. 

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