12 things you need to know about investing in — and moving to — the UK

Many foreign investors are eager to set up home and businesses in the UK’s capital. Our doors and arms remain firmly open to international investment. Giles Cheney, Dolfin client relationship manager, offers 12 important things to consider. (First published on the Dolfin website on 11 July 2016.)

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union may have been unexpected but the country’s doors and its arms remain firmly open to international investors. London’s status as a global financial hub is unchanged and many are eager to set up home and businesses in the capital. If you are considering such a move, obtaining suitable advice on wealth management, accountancy and tax should be your first priority.

Here are 12 things to consider:

  1. Apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa
    The Tier 1 Investor Visa commits you to investing at least £2m in UK assets and spending the majority of each year living in the UK. If you have more to invest, you will be granted residency more quickly.
  2. Seek Indefinite Leave to Remain
    At the end of your visa term, you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain — effectively permanent UK residency. One year after receiving this, you can apply for a British passport — but you must have spent at least nine months of each year living in the UK while on the Tier 1 Visa
  3. Remember that only one family member needs to apply
    It’s not uncommon for just one half of a couple to move to the UK while the other continues to live and work elsewhere. The other half of the couple is not obliged to spend a minimum period each year in the UK.
  4. Do not rely on borrowing
    You are obliged to fund your own investment — you may not use borrowed funds.
  5. Consider property
    If you decide to buy property in the UK, you cannot count the price as part of the amount you must invest in UK assets.
  6. Establish a local support network
    Many foreign investors have a strong support network in their home country that can’t necessarily follow them to the UK. Setting up a support network in the UK to assist you with practical issues can be invaluable.
  7. Take specialist advice
    You will need a specialist accountant and tax adviser in the UK who understands the UK system and the rules in your home country.
  8. Pay tax
    During the term of your Tier 1 visa, you will not be obliged to work in the UK — but you must pay local taxes. If the investments you make as part of your application generate income, it must be declared to HMRC, the UK’s tax authority.
  9. Be selective
    Visa handling is an unregulated service, so choose your visa agency carefully.
  10. Obtain medical cover
    I would recommend registering with a GP soon after your arrival in the UK and that you consider taking out private medical insurance — particularly if you have a family.
  11. Plan for inheritance
    You may wish to use a trust in a jurisdiction such as the Channel Islands to hold assets as part of your inheritance planning. With the right professional help, these can easily be set up from a base in the UK.
  12. Consider your children
    If you have children who are considering studying for a degree in the UK, you can gift funds for them to invest and gain a Tier 1 visa. This gives them the opportunity to become British citizens later on, if they wish to.

Before it’s here, it’s on the Dolfin website.