Tier 1 Investors have been hit by the latest fiasco on Home Office policy.  It was reported on 6th and 7th of December that the Home Office would be suspending the Tier 1 Investor immigration route to new applicants with immediate effect.

The Times, the Guardian and the BBC articles all quoted from a press release received from the Home Office in which the immigration minister cites the reason for suspension as abuse of the system – believed to be a reference to financial crime and money laundering.

“The UK will always be open to legitimate and genuine investors who are committed to helping our economy and businesses grow.  However, I have been clear that we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system.

That is why I am bringing forward these measure which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”

Despite this, the Home Office have today – 11 December – confirmed that the Tier 1 Investor route remains fully open to all applicants.  The application forms and the guidance remain available on-line and the websites of the Home Office and of UK Visas and Immigration are silent with regard to any changes.

Any substantive changes to the Immigration Rules – such as the suspension of an immigration category – require a statutory instrument to be laid before Parliament. Any changes automatically become law on the day that the statutory instrument is signed by the relevant government minister.  The changes will remain law unless a motion to reject is agreed by either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.   The process is know as the negative resolution process, requiring the House to act to reject rather than approve the changes.

However, changes to the Immigration Rules cannot be made by press release which appears to be the only communication on the subject to date.

We await further news as to whether, or when the Tier 1 Investor route will be closed.  In the meantime there are no assurances as to what period of notice would be given or whether consultation would precede any action. Until then, potential applicants for Tier 1 status are urged to press ahead as quickly as possible.