Tier 1 of the Points Based System incorporates several current and former immigration categories designed for individuals and their families to live and work in the UK.
Those who wish to set up a business in the UK or join an existing business can apply within the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category if they are able to demonstrate:
- they have access to £200,000; or
- access to not less than £50,000 from either a specified registered venture capital firm, a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions endorsed by UK Trade and Investment website or a UK Government department; and
- the money is held in one or more regulated financial institutions; and
- the money is disposable in the UK; and
- the proposed business is deemed by UK Visas and Immigration to meet the “Genuine Entrepreneur” test; or
- access to £50,000 in investment funds if that comes from specifically approved sources or if switching within the UK from particular immigration categories; and
- they can satisfy an English Language requirement; and
- they have the necessary funds (a minimum of £3,100 for 90 consecutive prior to the date of the application if outside the UK at April 2014); and
- the business has created at least two new full-time jobs for resident workers in the UK, which must have existed for at least 12 months.
Applicants must submit accounts and evidence of the UK business. It is necessary for applicants to have registered as self employed with HM Revenue & Customs within six months of entry to the UK, to show engagement in business activity at the time of the extension application and for this to have continued for at least three months before the date of the application.
Problems with Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications
Some common issues which arise in Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications include the following:
- Producing adequate documentation that the initial requirements are met. Showing that the necessary funds are in place, in particular, now requires very specific evidence which may not be available in all cases. Careful consideration of the form of investment and evidence to be submitted is needed;
- Meeting the “Genuine Entrepreneur” test. A significant percentage of applications are refused on the basis of failure to meet this, with visa officers and UK Visas and Immigration officials given significant discretion to make such assessments. A robust and credible business plan assists in meeting this requirement;
- Continuing to meet the criteria after arrival in the UK. Issues which can arise include a change to the original business model, difficulties in making the investment required or showing that the necessary number of full-time jobs has been created. It is important to consider the information to be submitted to UK Visas and Immigration to obtain an extension of stay long before the date leave to remain is due to expire.
Oliver Fisher’s immigration team has substantial experience of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications and can assist throughout this process.