UK Govt want ‘regulated investment account’ for ‘clean’ money
Tracy Evlogidis, partner and head of immigration at US law firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’s London office, also says that changes in UK law are causing a decline in UHNW immigration.
What changes have you seen?
The Tier 1 investment visa threshold of £2m, introduced in November 2014, has impacted the numbers of UHNWs coming to the UK. Those with the funds are finding the enhanced due diligence to open a UK regulated investment account when they are not yet UK-resident, expensive. This seems to be the intention of the Home Office that wants to ensure the funds coming into the UK are “clean” before the individuals apply for a UK visa, not after.
What countries do your clients come from?
As Morgan Lewis is a US law firm, a large proportion of our UHNWs are US nationals. Some of these are coming to the UK with a long term view of securing British citizenship and ultimately relinquishing US nationality due to the recent changes in US tax law. Other nationalities include Egyptian, particularly a few years ago, Israeli and South American.
What trends do you see internationally?
UHNW immigration to the UK continues, but has definitely slowed. Prior to the changes in law in 2014 and 15, there was a surge in visa applications to ensure that only £1m would need to be invested for the specified period. This has coincided with a number of countries such as Malta and Cyprus introducing citizenship programmes which are proving very interesting particularly Malta with a US connection. As well as this the looming uncertainty associated with Brexit means numbers might continue to decrease until after the summer referendum.