Chinese investors into the UK Golden Visa programme appear to have brushed aside any fears over Brexit as the number of applicants soared in 2017. The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa grants a 3 year residency to applicants and their families investing £2 million in UK government bonds, share capital and other non-property related assets. After a period of 3 years the applicant can then gain indefinite leave to remain in the UK if they increase their investment to £5 million or accelerate this process with a £10 million investment after 2 years. In 2017 Chinese investors took 116 of the 355 golden visas available. That’s an increase of 56% on the previous year, 2016, when the Brexit referendum took place.

This surge in Chinese investors could be a result of the backlog faced by Chinese applicants in the US EB5 programme. Every year Chinese applicants exceed the quota and a backlog has built up of around 3 years which on top of the investment period can stretch out to 8-10 years for the US Green Card. It is also why Grenada has seen a surge in the popularity of its citizenship by investment programme. Grenada is an E2 visa treaty country for the USA but many other countries, including China and India are not part of the treaty. Those holding Grenadian citizenship can apply to invest in an E2 visa for the USA, and in the case of Chinese applicants thereby avoiding the EB5 route and the associated  backlog. Grenada offers its citizenship programme from $150,000 for a single applicant plus fees with an E2 Visa investment typically around $200,000. All in all with costs, a cheaper and quicker route to a US Green Card than the EB5.

The UK programme is one of the most expensive immigration by investment programmes available but our experience is that Ultra High Net Worth Investors are rarely phased by the investment level. There are clear attractions to the UK with investors considering London one of the “safest” places in the world not just with crime but with the guarantee of education, the UK legal system and the fact that such investment is maintained in liquid assets although withdrawal in an emergency prior to completion of the investment period will have obvious consequences on the applicants’ visa status.

Tags: brexit, E2 Visa, eb5, grenada, immigration-by-investment, UK, USA


Related residency and citizenship investment programmes.