Migrant rules clear the way for investors

FEARS that new immigration rules could deter wealthy investors from moving to Britain have been quelled, following changes made by the government.

Foreign entrepreneurs are to be given extra incentives to come to the UK under new visa rules, which will reward those who contribute to economic growth.

Those willing to invest £5m in a British bank account will be allowed to settle here after three years, under the rules outlined in parliament yesterday.

Those who invest £10m will be allowed to stay after two years, compared to the current minimum five-year requirement.

Wealthy individuals who move to Britain and deposit £1m in a British bank account will be allowed to stay after the five-year period, and will also be exempt from the statutory English language test being drawn up for other migrants.

City firms had feared that foreign bankers and lawyers with vital skills needed in Britain could have been caught out by the new immigration rules.

However, the government is gradually clarifying its position on highly paid individuals wishing to settle here. The changes include an extension to the amount of time wealthy migrants can spend away from Britain, while still qualifying for UK residence. This period will now double from 90 to 180 days.

“During extensive consultation, it became clear that one of the most unattractive criteria of the existing investor scheme was the number of days that investors were required to be present in the UK in order to qualify for settlement,” said Nick Rollason, head of immigration at City law firm Kingsley Napley.

He added that the new rules were “win-win for the UK”.