White Papers

London & Capital On The UK Visa Programme For HNWIs - White Paper

Mark Estcourt London & Capital Executive Director Head Of Immigration 23 August 2013


Of course, the requirements for the investment are not just
compliance requirements. Individuals will have their own investment
requirements, risk tolerance and investment preferences. It is vital that
concepts such as diversification and risk management are not forgotten
alongside a close adherence to the rules. The temptation may be to invest
solely in very low risk assets, such as gilts but that may not be the “safest”
option in a climate of high inflation and low interest rates.

There are also more nuanced considerations. People come to
the UK
with families who may not speak the language, unaware of the complexities of
the British school system, with the wherewithal but perhaps not the expertise
to buy a house. They need help in finding homes, schools, English teachers and
getting their lives established in the UK. They may need help with
business start-ups, employment opportunities and tax planning. In other words,
they need a supportive and trusted adviser who can direct them to right
partners and professionals. Wealth does not necessarily make starting a new
life in a foreign country seamless.

On the investment side, we have several strategies,
comprising gilts, bonds and equities for this part of the market - strategies
that have a 27-year proven track record. The focus and heritage has always been
to preserve capital, which is ideally suited to this type of portfolio. We also
have a strong history in the family office market, with all the connections,
client servicing and concierge expertise that it brings. The combination of
these skill-sets is a necessity for the Investor Visa programme.

Getting it right can bring considerable upside: The ideal
scenario is that the investment portfolio will meet all the compliance
requirements and demonstrate steady growth over the term. The requirements for
extending a stay in the UK
are straightforward and applicants will qualify for indefinite leave to remain
after three years and four months and ultimately citizenship after five years.
If the criteria are met, an applicant may bring dependents and make use of UK education
and healthcare. The terms of residency are relatively generous, with investors
having to stay in the country for at least half the year.

Of course, there are a number of ways it can go wrong. This
can be extremely disruptive: applicants may have children at school, they may
have bought property, they may have commercial or employment interests. If the
criteria are not met, they face the prospect of leaving the country and
beginning the process again. There are a number of ways it can go wrong, but
the most common in our experience is: poor investment decisions leading the
portfolio falling below the minimum investment threshold, assets are not
invested in the right investments (like wrappers involving ISAs and Pensions
for example), and a failure to meet the deadline for investment - some criteria
where our competitors are falling foul.

There are a lot of different strands that need to be brought
together successfully to ensure that the application and investment process
runs smoothly. We have been operating in this market for some time and are
well-aware of the pitfalls of poor advice and the advantages of good advice. We
aim to be a trusted partner for people starting a new life in the UK.

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