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UK Foreign Investors - Who They Are

UK Foreign Investors -- Who They Are

Foreign investment has increased over the past decade. Applications for UK visas have increased over 80% since 2014, increasing the amount of wealth, intelligence, and business savvy in the United Kingdom. As a potential foreign investor in the UK, you must apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa in order to invest within the United Kingdom. A large percentage of visa applications are granted to foreign investors from all over the world. This increase in investor visas can be attributed to the re-organisation of United Kingdom’s visa system in 2008. Many wealthy investors see the investor visa as a quick way to residency and citizenship in the UK


Russian investors are the top foreign investor in the UK. Russian investors make up approximately 30% of all the UK’s foreign investors combined. Seen as a fast track to citizenship, Russians are interested in bringing their money and families to the UK economy. While in the UK on a Tier 1 Investor Visa, wealthy Russian investors will have their children educated in UK schools and use the advantages of the investor visa to move toward citizenship for their families.

Russians are buying up prestigious property in central London. In fact, overseas buyers, primarily from Russia, purchased over 50% of total sales in the first quarter of 2012 in these upscale areas.

The trend of Russian immigrants to the UK has increased substantially over the past four decades. Forty years ago there were less than a hundred Russian’s living in the United Kingdom. However, according to the CTFM, today, with the increase in visas and citizenship applications and the ease of being granted a visa, there are well over 30,000 Russians living in the United Kingdom.


Wealthy Chinese investors represent a close second for the number of visa investor applications made and granted in the UK this year. Representing just fewer than 20% of the Tier 1 Investor Visa applications, Chinese millionaires are heading to the UK to invest their money. This is a significant increase over the past four years.


India is the third largest investor in the UK market.  The ease of access to an investor visa, and the appealing position as a European Union (EU) gateway, makes investing in the UK appealing to wealthy investors from India, as well as many other countries.

Thirty percent of applications for investor visas were from Eastern Bloc countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, and other investors from countries such as Afghanistan and the United States. Less than five years ago, the United States was the number one investor with India in a close second. This indicate an extremely fluid investor market in the United Kingdom.

As the UK continues to attract more foreign investors than any other European country, the number of investor visa applications continues to increase. The increased number of wealthy foreign investors coming to the United Kingdom is of concern to many as they feel that wealthy investors are buying citizenship in the UK. However, many are happy to have the foreign investors, as their investments are continuing to create thousands of jobs all over the UK. The increase in jobs will stimulate the growth of the economy.

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