2020 has been a bad year for the world. But it’s been worse for the UK’s migration program.
Recorded visa issuances are down by 40%.
In 2020, 52 main and 98 dependent applications were awarded an investor visa. This was during the October to December period.
That value represents almost a 50% drop compared to the third quarter of that year, and it’s all tied to the pandemic.
Stats for the Entire Year
Thus far, the Home Office accepted 216 investors in 2020, compared to 2019’s 360.
If we were to assume that average investor bought in GBP 2 million, this would put total foreign investments at just over 430 million.
Still, it’s expected that the true income may be a little higher, especially since many applicants go for the fast-track options.
As for nationalities, Hong Kong was the largest source of investors. They brought 10 of 52 main investors. Next was China at 9, the US at 6, and Russia at 5.
Rejection Rates Going Up
2020 also brought higher rejection rates. In 2020, up to 9% of those applying were rejected, compared to 2019’s 4%.
However, it’s important to note that the rejections are across the board. That is, they aren’t exclusive to Tier 1 investors only.
But that’s not all to the rates. While there was a 40% drop in visa issuances, there were 69% less visas issued compared to 2019.
This means that the general demand was also lower. This may have more to do with the harsh restrictions forced on UK businesses and individuals in 2020’s last quarter.
But, this doesn’t exclude the possibility of a recovery. With 2021, the UK is expected to see a rollout of vaccines, one considered the largest in the world.
This should encourage more investors to sign up for the program. It should also be a sign of faster processing and reduced rejection rates.
Plus, the departure from the EU should be a contributor to improvement in the program’s performance.
After all, with no EU treaty rights allowing UK residence, those wanting to access the UK must submit a residency or investment application.
What Are Investors Looking for Socially?
As of now, investors seem to be more concerned with healthcare and education.
The pandemic is triggering worries with regards to healthcare practices. With better practices in-effect, a pull factor may be observed for applications.
Education is another concern. Many applications are motivated by a desire to join a specific school or university.
With campuses opening up, there should be a rise in application numbers. This should make the UK an attractive spot for migrants, giving the program a nice recovery after 2020’s failed performance.