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Does Purchasing Property in the UK Entitle you to Residency?

Though it is possible for non-British citizens to purchase property in the UK from overseas, potential buyers can often be left wondering if this grants them immediate UK residency or British citizenship.

Specialist lawyers at London Immigration can explore the options available to those wishing to obtain permanent residence by property investment in the UK, and help buyers find a route to secure British citizenship.

For accurate legal advice, call London Immigration Lawyers today on 020 4502 7110.

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    Buying Property in the UK from Overseas

    There are various reasons for wanting to purchase residential property in the UK. Some buyers do so for investment purposes, whilst others intend on living there permanently. However, it is not possible to buy property in the UK and get immediate permanent residence. If purchasing property in the UK from overseas, buyers can:

    • Purchase property without restriction.
    • Pay upfront or apply for a mortgage to cover the cost.

    However, buyers should also consider:

    • Buying a property in the UK does not automatically grant the right to reside there.
    • The immigration status of a buyer from abroad does not change once they have purchased a property in the UK.

    For overseas investors that wish to live in their UK property on a permanent basis, they must first apply for and be granted a visa. There are different visas available to gain entry to the UK and the route taken to obtain permanent residence depends on the individual’s personal circumstances.

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    How To Become A Permanent UK Resident

    Buying property in the UK does not automatically grant the right to live or work there but many buyers can apply for a visa that enables them to do so. Visas do not give permanent residence but they do allow the visa holder to live and work in the UK for a period of time. At the end of this time period, the visa holder may be able to apply for an extension or indefinite leave to remain (settlement).

    Some visa holders that wish to obtain permanent residency in the UK may then apply to obtain British citizenship. Those that are granted indefinite leave to remain must stay in the UK for a further 12 months prior to applying unless they are married to a British citizen.

    Types of UK Visa

    Overview

    There are various UK visa categories available each designed for specific applicants and each with different eligibility criteria. For foreign investors or entrepreneurs looking to purchase property in the UK, some business visas can provide a route to permanent residency. These include:

    • Innovator visa.
    • Global Talent visa.
    • Skilled Worker visa.
    • Scale-Up visa.

    Applicants must meet all of the eligibility criteria for their chosen visa to succeed in their application and go on to secure UK citizenship. Most applicants can apply online but some may need to visit a visa application centre as part of the application process.

    The Innovator Visa 

    The Innovator visa is available to entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the UK. Innovator visa holders can live and work in the UK for up to 3 years. At the end of this time period, it is then possible to apply for an extension or, after 3 years, permanent settlement in the UK. The applicant must:

    • Have a solid business idea that is different to anything else already on the UK market. (It is not possible to join a business already trading within the UK economy).
    • Prove their initial investment funds.
    • Meet all eligibility criteria.
    • Provide evidence of their ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language.
    • In some cases, provide a criminal record certificate.

    The business plan must:

    • Be suitable for British society.
    • Be viable.
    • Have the potential for growth.
    • Be endorsed by an approved body or an endorsing body. (Should the endorsing body withdraw the applicant must then reapply with a new endorsement before the time period of their visa elapses).

    The Global Talent Visa

    The Global Talent visa is for those from overseas who are leaders, or potential leaders, in fields such as academia and research, arts and culture, or digital technology. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and can usually only apply if they have successfully secured an endorsement to prove their leadership status. It is possible to be granted a Global Talent visa without an endorsement, but only by winning an eligible award.

    The applicant will need to meet all other eligibility requirements and provide all requested legal documentation within their application, including:

    • Evidence of identity and nationality (such as a passport).
    • Bank statements.

    If the applicant has received an award or scholarship to study in the UK within the previous year, they must obtain written permission from the agent or government that granted it in order to apply.

    Global Talent visa holders can live, work and study in the UK for up to 5 years. At the end of this period, the individual can then apply for an extension (up to another 5 years) or permanent UK residency.

    The Skilled Worker Visa

    The Skilled Worker visa allows foreigners to come to the UK to work for an approved employer who acts as a ‘sponsor’. The employer must:

    • Be approved by the home office.
    • Pay the applicant at least the minimum salary for the type of work they will be doing.
    • Provide the applicant with a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ that provides details of the job role.

    For this visa, the specific eligibility criteria are dependent upon the job offered by the employer. However, all applicants must:

    • Prove that they can speak, read, write and understand the English language.
    • Have a confirmed job offer.
    • Present all requested legal documents (such as proof of identity and bank statements) within their application.

    If the applicant is granted a Skilled Worker visa and then decides to change jobs/employer, or take on a second job of over 20 hours a week, then they must apply to update their visa.

    Applicants wishing to update their skilled worker visa must do so online via the UK government’s website. It usually takes approximately 8 weeks from the application date to receive a decision but the applicant can apply to update their visa 3 months prior to starting their new job.

    Skilled Worker visa holders can live and work in the UK for up to 5 years. After this time period, they can apply to extend their visa for another 5 years or apply for definite leave to remain (settlement).

    The Scale-Up Worker Visa

    This visa allows employers from the UK to sponsor foreign workers and bring them to the UK from overseas, in order to ‘scale up’ their fast-growing business. The job role must be seen as eligible by the UK government and the employer must meet specific eligibility criteria to be able to sponsor foreign workers. Applicants must:

    • Have a confirmed job offer by an employer approved by the home office that is expected to last at least 6 months.
    • Provide a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from their approved employer detailing their job role.
    • Expect to receive at least the minimum salary for the type of work they will be doing.
    • Prove that they can speak, read, write, and understand the English language.

    Applicants can apply up to 3 months prior to starting their job and will need to provide all requested legal documents to be successful in their application.

    The Scale-Up Worker visa allows holders to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years. At the end of this time period, the visa holder can apply for an extension for up to 3 more years, providing they still meet all of the eligibility requirements. Holders can extend their visa as many times as they wish or, after 5 years, apply for indefinite leave to remain. If this is granted they can then go on to apply to obtain British citizenship.

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      Self-Sponsorship in the UK

      Technically, there is no such thing as self-sponsorship in the UK. Immigration rules in the UK do not allow a foreigner to sponsor themselves to work for a UK business unless they own it themself. In addition, it is no longer possible to apply for the Tier 1 Investor visa in the UK.

      If the individual does own a UK business and wishes to self-sponsor, the business must first obtain a ‘sponsor license’ from the UK government. It is then possible for the business owner to apply to sponsor themselves as a ‘Skilled Worker’ of that business. The applicant must apply for the Skilled Worker visa, ensuring they meet all eligibility criteria and follow the route to gain permanent UK residency.

      Obtaining British Citizenship

      Many visa holders wish to become British citizens. To apply for British Citizenship all applicants must:

      • Be over 18.
      • Been granted indefinite leave to remain or settlement.
      • Prove that they were living in the UK 5 years prior to their application date.
      • Passed the ‘life in the UK test’.
      • Intend to remain living in the UK.

      How Can London Immigration Lawyers Help?

      Applying for a visa to live and work in the UK can be a lengthy and stressful process due to the varying immigration laws and rules. Applicants must first choose the right visa for them and meet all of the specific eligibility criteria in order for it to be granted.

      Whilst many visa applications in the UK are approved successfully, some foreigners looking to live and work in the UK may need more accurate advice and guidance. The route to obtaining permanent residence in the UK can sometimes be unclear as visa programmes in the UK are updated regularly and without notice. However, expert immigration lawyers at London Immigration can help guide applicants through the whole process efficiently.

      To speak to a legal adviser today, call London Immigration Lawyers on 020 4502 7110.

      Call us for further assistance with obtaining UK Residency. Contact us

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