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01 March, 2021

Russians continue to invest in UK businesses despite pandemic

Five investors from Russia were granted residence permits in the UK between October and December 2020. Russians are the fourth highest number of approved applicants during this period. Here's how to become a UK resident in 2021.

UK residence permit for investors: 2020 statistics
Photo: Adobe Stock

Statistics on investor issuance are collected by the UK Home Office. The latest figures take into account the number of applicants for 2020, the total amount invested in the business and the nationality of the applicants.

Number of applicants. 216 investors and 375 of their family members received a residence permit by business investment in 2020. Of these, 150 were in the last three months, from October to December.

The UK issued 40% fewer investor visas in 2020 compared to 2019. The drop is due to the pandemic: many companies have been forced to close temporarily and investors have put off setting up new business until a better time.

The rejection rate at the same time has doubled. In 2019, the MIA rejected 4% of applications submitted and in 2020, already 8.9% of applications were rejected.

Number of investor visas issued in 2019 and 2020

Number of UK residence permits issued by investment in 2019 and 2020
Grey columns on the left are results for 2019, blue columns on the right for 2020

The amount invested in UK businesses was about £432 million for 2020. The calculation is approximate: it is based on the number of applicants and the minimum amount of investment for obtaining a visa - £2 million.

In reality, the amount invested in a year is 15-20% higher. Sometimes investors invest more than the threshold amount. An accelerated application fee for renewal or conversion to an investor visa also generates additional income.

Investment in UK businesses in exchange for residence permits, £ mln

UK residence permit investment amount for 2019 and 2020

National composition of applicants. In the fourth quarter of 2020, business people from Hong Kong, China and the US were the most likely to receive a UK investor visa. Russians were the fourth most approved applicants, with investors from India in fifth place.

Percentage of approved applications by investors from different countries in 2020

CountryQ1 2020Q2 2020Q3 2020Q4 2020
Hong Kong33%39%21%19%
Other countries31%9%32,838%

How to get a residence permit or business visa for the UK in 2021

The UK issues different types of residence permits and visas for business people and investors. It all depends on the applicant's situation.

The points-based residence permit system is available to foreigners who take up employment in a British company or go to study in the UK. An applicant must score at least 70 points in order to obtain a residence permit. The applicant's age, education, qualifications and specialisation are taken into account. Nationality is not taken into account.

A residence permit by investment, or Investor Visa, is granted for contributions to a business in the country of £2 million or more. You must apply at least three months before your intended date of entry to the UK. The visa allows you to do business, live and study in the country. It can also be obtained by the investor's spouse and minor children.

The Innovator Visa and Start-up Visa are suitable for investors who want to start a new company in the UK. To get a visa, the candidate draws up a business plan and a proposal that is not yet available on the UK market. We talked about these visas in the article 'How to obtain business visas to the UK'.

If the purpose of the investor is visa-free travel to the UK, a second passport from one of the five Caribbean countries or Vanuatu will come in handy. Citizens of these countries are entitled to enter the UK without a visa and stay up to 180 days a year. A Caribbean passport or Vanuatu passport can be obtained by an investment of $100,000 or more.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent who helps you obtain UK residency by investment. If you want to become a British resident or obtain Caribbean citizenship, seek advice from expert investment agents.

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Russians continue to invest in UK businesses despite pandemic