Wanting to do Business in the UK?

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur category is designed to attract businessmen and women whose business proposals will result in economic benefit to the UK. It has seen changes implemented by the Home Office in the past few years. Initially, the requirements were stringent with business plans and financial projections as well as the experience of the applicant. Thereafter, the requirements were relaxed and applicants were only required to show that they had access to sufficient investments funds.

Unfortunately, the Home Office discovered that this route was being abused by applicants whose main intention was to merely extend their visa and were not serious about actually starting a business and contributing to the UK’s economy. As a result of this abuse, the Home Office made a decision to revert back to the previous more stringent requirements.

The current rules require any potential applicant to provide the following:
1. Access to £200,000 for investment purposes in a regulated institution and disposable for use in the UK
2. English language at a certain level
3. Maintenance in addition to the your investment sum

The above is a summary of the requirements. More importantly, the Home Office introduced a subjective requirement for the applicants to meet with in addition to meeting with the requisite points based requirements.

The Home Office is now able to scrutinise applications on merit and take into consideration a number of factors when trying to gauge the genuineness of applications. Factors that will take into consideration when assessing the credibility of the visa application are as follows:

• Education background of the applicant;
• Previous relevant business and entrepreneurial experience of the applicant;
• The viability of business plans submitted and evidence of market research;
• Continued access to the funds invested in the UK business by the applicant. The Applicant may be requested to demonstrate that the funds are either in the Applicant’s possession or have been accounted for in the business/investment or in the event the Applicant is obtaining third party funding be available from the third party named in the application;
• The viability and credibility of the source of the money relied upon to fund the application; and

Thus, careful planning is required for this type of application and many are exploring new and innovative ways to obtain this type of visa.

We strongly advise applicants to take legal advice on applications because of the scrutiny given by the Home Office. There is a high refusal rate for applications submitted without legal advice.

Please speak to our Immigration specialist Alvyn Kee on 020 7998 7777 or email him at alvyn.kee@bloomsbury-law.com for more information.

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