On 4 January 2022, the National Security and Investment (NSI) Act – the biggest shake-up in 20 years of the UK’s system for screening investments for risks to national security – will come into full force across the UK.
On Monday 15 November 2021, further guidance to help businesses understand their legal duties under the NSI Act was published.
From 4 January 2022, the government will be able to scrutinise and intervene in certain acquisitions made by anyone, including businesses and investors, that could harm the UK’s national security.
The government will be able to impose certain conditions on an acquisition or, if necessary, unwind or block it – although the government expects to do this rarely and the vast majority of deals will be able to proceed without delay.
Businesses and investors are encouraged to get ready for the changes and the guidance published will help to ensure a smooth transition to the new rules. The guidance helps businesses and investors to:
Business Minister Lord Callanan said: "The UK is world-renowned as an attractive place to invest, however we will not hesitate to intervene where necessary to protect our national security. The new investment screening process will be simpler and quicker, giving investors and firms the certainty they need to do business, and I urge them to make sure they are ready for the changes before they come into force in January."
Today, the government has also laid 2 pieces of secondary legislation. These are:
Today’s publication builds on guidance issued in July. That guidance covered:
On 2 November, the Secretary of State published a statement on how he expects to exercise the power to call in acquisitions under the NSI Act (the ‘Section 3 Statement’). This statement sets out the risk factors that he will take into account when making a decision about calling in an acquisition, and the areas of the economy where a call-in is most likely to take place.
This statement was consulted on in the summer. Businesses and investors can use the statement to assess whether their acquisition may be within scope of the call-in power.
The 17 sensitive areas of the economy are: