The UK’s Tier 1 Investor Visa is one of the highest grossing in the world. It receives large application numbers yearly, and with large investments funds.
Those applications are often approved, with failure rates hitting 10% in 2021. Those aren’t the lowest failure rates, but they’re still promising for a popular visa program. Thus in 2021, 9/10 applicants were accepted.
However, that’s not all there is to the numbers. There seems to be a bias towards some nationalities, with different acceptance rates among each.
We’ll discuss that bias below. But first…
Visa Issuance Numbers
Since its start in 2008, the UK has handed out 4699 Tier 1 visas. The majority (around 2945) were handed out pre-2014.
During that time, the minimum investment cap was £1 million. That would increase after 2015 to £2 million.
The increase tried to focus on high net worth investors as primary contributors to the program.
This would lead to a sharp drop off in application numbers, which can be seen in 2014’s numbers versus today. The UK’s Tier 1 Visa issuance peaked in 2014 – with 471 main applicants in its fourth quarter.
The number of main applicants would decline for years to follow. Currently, the first quarter of 2021 sees 45 main applicants. That’s less than 10% of 2014’s values.
However, 2020’s values are an improvement over 2019’s. This seems to be related to the UK easing its pandemic mobility restrictions.
What are the Applicant Demographics ?
Five nations make up the bulk of Tier 1 investor applications, those being:
- Mainland China
- South Africa
- Hong Kong
Coming to rejection rates, the average rejection rate since the program’s inception is at 7.3% (counting 2008 to 2021).
Few countries stand out far above that average. Those being:
Iran and Pakistan have the two highest rejection rates, at 25.3% and 21.7% respectively. India comes third at 15.7%, Egypt fourth at 12.8%, and Ukraine fifth at 9.3%.
The five nations that make up the accepted bulk have far lower rejection rates. The highest among them is mainland China at 6.2%, which is still below the total average.
Special Interest from US Investors
The Tier visa is seeing a high growth rate of US investors. It’s currently estimated that they account for 16% of all the category’s visas.
This is a positive sign, especially with the ongoing pandemic.
The UK has been enforcing strict lockdown measures for the past year. This has significantly hurt the program’s processing time and acceptance, allowing less investors into the country.
Regardless, many experts seem hopeful about the current situation. And one example is Farzin Yazdi from Shard Capital Investor Visa.
He currently sees that the UK is reducing restrictions on highly vaccine areas, a sign that the UK is slowly opening up. He also sees that the US investor insurgence is another positive sign for the UK’s program.
So the program is predicted to do well, especially with a history of high-demand in a high resilience industry.