The number of UK visas granted to individuals representing foreign businesses has dropped since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
According to law firm Collyer Bristow, 125 visas were granted in the year ending March 2017, down 11 per cent from the 140 that were handed out in the previous year.
It said the drop may have been due to stricter reviews by the Home Office carried out on the back of Prime Minister Theresa May’s clamp down on net migration targets.
The Prime Minister’s office said on Thursday that data suggesting Britain’s population will pass the 70 million mark by 2029 proves the need to bring net migration down to the tens of thousands.
A “representative of an overseas business” visa is valid for three years and granted to individuals representing a company from outside the EU looking to expand into the UK.
Collyer Bristow said many of these businesses are from industries such as tech. It warned that more overseas business visa rejections could put the Government “at risk of missing out” on large amounts of tax revenue.
Despite the drop in successful applications, the total number of applications for overseas business visas rose 33 per cent in the same period.
Individuals from Australia and the US were granted the most overseas business visas, according to the data, with 20 each in the year ending March 2017. Business representatives from China and India were granted 15 visas each. Japanese business representatives had 10 overseas business visas issued.
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“Overseas business visas can serve a valuable function in attracting often high-profit businesses from other countries to the UK, and can help to encourage trade, investment, innovation and competition,” said James Badcock, a lawyer at Collyer Bristow.
“Like other visas such as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur, the Government has often done little to actively promote the overseas business visa category.
“As a result, awareness of its existence across the world is not as high as it potentially could be, ultimately impacting overall applicant numbers.”