You can invest in the government bonds, but if you wish to start a business, investment requirement is only £200,000, much less than £2 million required for the investor visa. It will be worth seeking legal advice so that you could make an informed decision about which type of visa to go for.
What qualifies as a U.K. enterprise for purposes of the U.K. investor visa?
Our son has been accepted to attend university in the U.K. and we would like to be closer to him during his studies. We are looking at the U.K. investor visa and would like some more guidance regarding what qualifies as a U.K. enterprise. Can we start a business? Can we invest in government bonds?
The Tier 1 Investor visa category requires the applicant to invest no less than £2m into UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. Therefore, you can invest in government bonds. According to the Immigration Rules, "active and trading UK registered companies" (or "UK enterprise" in your question) must a) have a registered office or head office in the UK; b) have a UK bank account showing current business transactions; and c) be subject to UK taxation. The conditions of Tier 1 Investor scheme do not prevent you to start a business in the UK. However, you might wish to consider another visa category: Tier 1 Entrepreneur. This visa category allows you to either invest in an existing UK business or establish your own business. The funds required are no less than £200,000. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category is more complex than Tier 1 Investor. It would be worth seeking comprehensive legal advice before you start preparing for the application.
There are two potential immigration options for the U.K. that you may wish to consider. The tier 1 investor visa is an option for those who wish to invest £2 million into U.K. government bonds, or share or loan capital of U.K.-registered companies. This is a passive investment option and the applicant does not need to be actively engaged in the business. They are also given a right to work, study, be self-employed or to simply live self-sufficiently in the U.K. The tier 1 entrepreneur visa is for an applicant who has £200,000 and wishes to invest into a new or existing business in the U.K. The applicant needs to intend to be actively involved in running that business, which must create employment opportunities for people settled in the U.K. Under both options an applicant would usually qualify for indefinite leave to remain after five years, although there are accelerated routes for higher investment levels under the tier 1 investor route, or for high-performing companies under the tier 1 entrepreneur route. Both tier 1 categories would also allow a spouse and any dependent children under the age of 18 to accompany them to the U.K.