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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 10 things to consider:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be selective. Visa handling is a complex process, so choose your visa agency carefully.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.