Clarification to UK foreign investor visa rules

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01 August 2005


The UK Home Office has clarified the amount of time that foreign investors settling in Britain are allowed to spend outside of the UK.

The Home Office had ruled that people in the UK on the investor visa scheme could not leave the UK for more than six months in a four year period in order to qualify for permanent residence. However, permitting investors to leave the UK for just six months in a four year period could have stopped overseas entrepreneurs and senior professionals from coming to the UK, as they would find it hard to meet the those rules while still satisfying business and holiday commitments, said a leading immigration lawyer.

The lawyer had applied for permission for a judicial review of the ruling but before the application could be heard, the department wrote to the lawyer saying that it had changed its mind. Instead of six months, investors will be allowed to spend up to a year out of the country in the four years before they submit their applications for permanent residence, "provided that none of the individual trips is more than three months".