Snaid & Morris

Why the UK?

What an end to September and a great start to the beginning of October.  On the 26th September 2023 our colleague Jarmila Entezari, from Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, our London associate firm, spent an enthralling ten days with us.  During this time, we also had the pleasure of hosting Lorna Feldtmann, the Head of Region for Sub-Saharan Africa from UK Visas and Immigration, at our offices for an update on the current visa processing situation for South African passport holders. We also discussed entry requirements into the UK.  This was an incredibly insightful morning that saw us hosting a great many of our clients, friends and colleagues, including the president of the British Chamber of Business in Southern Africa.

On the evening of Thursday the 28th September we were privileged to attend a function hosted by his Excellency Antony Phillipson, the British High Commissioner and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, at the Henley Business School in Johannesburg.  This event was a celebration of 20 years of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation and it was held to highlight the achievements of the Mandela Rhodes scholars. It further galvanised the strong and close bond between the people of South Africa and the people of His Majesty’s Government and the United Kingdom. 

The fun continued at our head office, on Friday the 29th September, Shireen Shams from the Department for Business and Trade, gave an overview on the investment landscape into the United Kingdom and the opportunities that exist for businesses to invest in the United Kingdom.  One of the most interesting and important take outs from this event, is the global entrepreneur programme (‘GEP’) which supports the world’s best and brightest talent and entrepreneurs getting into the UK. The GEP assist the start-ups of the  most  unique and innovative businesses, and it is enabled to endorse Innovator Founder visas: “its goal is to support founders and companies who want to leverage the UK’s world class eco system to scale and expend into international markets, to focus on companies building technology solutions to solve global issues and the aim is to enable companies to scale up and internationalise and become unicorns”.

This ties in very closely with the information provided by the UK Visas and Immigration Department the day before.  So far, GEP has attracted more than 1300 companies, created more than 10 000 jobs and raised over £2.5 billion in funding for these companies.  The secret sauce, as it is known, is based on the core principles of the GEP, and in South Africa the Department of Business and Trade has a dedicated dealmaker Shirley Gilbey, who is based in the

Department of Business and Trade’s Cape Town offices.  The applicants must have a real ‘tech’ product or solution, which must be developed beyond proof of concept.  They must also, have traction in their home market, and be willing to set up a global headquarters in the UK. 

The investment opportunities however do not end there.  One of the most interesting take aways of the morning was the fact that the UK is a leading light amongst its peers and has attracted more direct foreign investment than any other European nation since 1997.  Since 1990 the UK has had a steady increase in direct foreign investment and as of 2021 hit £2.6 billion.  About a thousand new international businesses set up offices in the United Kingdom each year. The Department of Business and Trade are committed to continue building on this success.

It is interesting to note that the growth since 2017 to date has been exponentially greater than any of the UK’s counterparts in the European Union.  The doomsday declaration that Brexit would be the death knell for the UK economy have been proven to be quite the opposite.  Since 2017 there was a steady jump and in 2019, 2020 and 2021 that jump rose even higher in direct foreign investment.  This shows that the UK is a business – friendly environment with a robust legal system to attract world class talent. With accessible financial systems and minimal red tape.  One of the most attractive benefits of investing and travelling to the UK, is the geographical location and the time zone.  At most, when the UK is in daylight saving in the winter months it is still only 2 hours behind South African Time.

We then held our open days and road show for people wanting to relocate to the UK where we met the most interesting and varied pool of new clients.  On the 27th September we held an open day at our Johannesburg head office with clients interested in emigrating, investing or studying in the UK.  We met aspiring emigrants who after exploring all options, are now relocating with a view of making the United Kingdom their new home.  We followed up this successful day by an even more successful road show in Cape Town on Monday the 2nd October. 

Throughout the busy ten-day tour, we were joined by Nicolle Morris who is now a registered associate with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers, jointly managed by the British Council. Most applicants must meet the English language requirement when emigrating to the UK, and we are extremely proud of Nicolle who facilitates bookings as well as the preparation for IELTS tests.

What we have learned from this visit is that the relationship between the United Kingdom and South Africa is strong.  The UK is continuously looking to attract the brightest talent from South Africa. Such talent does not necessarily mean entrepreneurs. The United Kingdom is looking for artisans, teachers, doctors, nurses, people from constructions and from all other walks of life.  The message has been clear, the United Kingdom is open for business! 

The unique partnership between Snaid & Morris Inc. and Carter Lemon Camerons LLP is poised, well prepared and ready to assist South African citizens wanting to emigrate, be educated or invest in the United Kingdom. Snaid & Morris Inc and Carter Lemon Camerons LLP are now strategically aligned to offer the best possible one-stop service, in the quest for UK residence, settlement, citizenship or investment.  We look forward to being of assistance and updating our clients on any developments.  We are extremely proud of the unique relationship with the UK Government departments and various other stakeholders, which has positioned us ahead of anyone else to assist clients. We look forward to hearing from you on our dedicated e-mail address wherein we will look forward to assisting you.