Any person who wishes to enter the UK will be granted permission on the basis of a document known as a ‘visa’. The person seeking entry will apply for the visa by completing the visa application form and all the requirements that go with it. These visa application forms are processed by the Home Office, a government department of the UK that is responsible for handling immigration related cases. The Home Office, headed by the Secretary of State, is also responsible for deciding asylum, deportation and detention cases. However, the Home Office makes it decisions by abiding by UK law. Laws directly and indirectly relating to Immigration and entry to the UK have been passed over the years which define procedures and regulations which the Home Office is obligated to follow. These laws defining procedures are compiled in a document titled UK Immigration Rules which contains the procedures and requirements for all visa types of the UK. Currently, a total of 4 visa types are functional in UK i.e. Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5. The Tier 3 visa, which was created by the UK government for low skilled workers, is currently non-functional and cannot be applied on. Citizens of the European Union (EU) from this visa process as part of the free movement agreement between EU nations titled ‘Schengen Agreement’. So, EU citizens do not require a visa to go to the UK rather enjoy the privilege of working, settling and visiting the UK without going through a lengthy immigration procedure.
The Points Based System of the UK Immigration Process is a measuring system set up by the government to check whether an applicant applying for any category meets all the necessary requirements of the visa he/she is applying for. This is done by points being awarded to the applicant each time a requirement of the visa he/she is applying for is met. When necessary requirements are met that the applicant meets the minimum threshold of points required for that specific visa type, the applicant is deemed eligible for that visa. The number of points required varies from visa category to category such as the Tier 4 General Student category requires 40 points while the Tier 1 investor visa UK requires a total of 75 points.
Parts 5 and 6 (and 6A) of the UK Immigration Rules define regulatory procedures for the Tier 1 visa and can be referred to for the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa requirements, which is the topic of this blog. The Tier 1 visa is made up of 5 categories i.e. the general visa category, the entrepreneur visa category, the graduate entrepreneur visa category, the Tier 1 investor visa UK category and the exceptional talent category. This blog will look at the Entrepreneur category of the Tier 1 visa and provide Tier 1 entrepreneur visa requirements along with requirements on extension of visa on this category and settlement in UK. The tier 1 visa is typically referred to as the ‘High Value Migrants Category’.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
This category exists for non-European migrants who wish to enter the UK with investment that they wish to use to start a business or takeover an already running business. It should be noted that the Home Office conducts a thorough examination of the nature of the applicant’s work to confirm whether it is of entrepreneurial nature or not.
Under the Points Based System, a total of 95 points are required for first time entrants of this visa category and individuals looking for an extension. These points can be secured by fulfilling requirements such as:
For extensions, the point distribution scheme is listed as:
How to prove that the applicant possess the necessary funds while applying for the Tier 1 Entrepreneurship visa?
To provide proof to the government about the access to the amount of funds required, the applicant will need to submit a letter issued from financial institutions where the funds are held; which states the confirmation of the individual possessing the funds he/she has stated in visa application. It should be noted that the letter being submitted must bear the letterhead of the financial institution. Also, the financial institution where the funds are being held must be under the regulative authority of the UK. The letter must also state that the individual has the authority to transfer the amount in his/her possession. A bank statement of the applicant’s past financial records must also be provided for UK banks.
In the case that the amount is funded for by a third-party, additional information will be required by the UK government. These third-party members can be a corporate body or bodies, such as a venture capital firm, a competition that awards seed funding, a government department of the UK or delegated government department willing to back your entrepreneurial work in the UK. It could also be an investor or a family member. In the case of a corporate body funding, the applicant will be required to provide a letter from an accountant of this body who details the reason for the funding along with confirmation regarding the amount given to the applicant. The accountant must also be well-established and should hold recognition from a UK supervisory body.
What kind of investments does UK government demands from an applicant applying on the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category?
The nature of the investments made must be such that it should be held in a financial institution that falls under the regulatory authority of the UK government. Investments should be made in already functioning businesses in the UK or businesses that need to be started. The funds held by the entrepreneur must also be disposable within the United Kingdom.
The UK government also requires applicant on this category to provide a financial record of the company’s accounts that have been audited if they serve as directors of the said registered company. However, if the nature of the business is such that the company is not required to provide audited accounts, then accounts that are unaudited must be provided. These unaudited accounts are also referred to as ‘Management Accounts’. It should be noted that these management accounts must be provided by an accountant who is suitably regulated along with a certificate of confirmation from said accountant. The accountant is required to be a member of a supervisory body that exists within the UK and is recognized by the government, along with providing proof of this membership.
Furthermore, if the investment being made (or which will be made) by the applicant is in the form of a director’s loan, the applicant must also submit a document detailing the legal agreement that exists between the applicant and the company.
What should be the nature of the business an individual should invest, if he/she wishes to be granted a visa on the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category?
The beneficiary of the applicant’s investment should be a business based in the United Kingdom. Evidence of this can be submitted by:
Job Creation requirement for the Extension of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
UK government has imposed job creation requirement for UK entrepreneurs who wish to apply for an extension on Tier 1 entrepreneur visa. For extension purposes, the person must provide proof that his/her entrepreneurial activity in the UK has resulted in the creation of at least two new full-time jobs for people who are citizens of the UK. Proof of this must be provided in the form of the employee’s UK citizenship status and his/her working hours along with the date of employment.
What are the requirements to be fulfilled by individuals who are registered directors of a company or self-employed and wish to extend their stay in UK?
What is the settlement procedure for individuals on the Tier 1 entrepreneur category?
The UK has a set criterion to measure the period an individual has stayed in the UK referred to as the continuous residence period. To apply for permanent residence on this category, a continuous period of either 3 or 5 years must be completed. The category that this period has been completed in must be an eligible immigration category.
A period of 3 years is legally counted by the UK government if:
However, if an individual has not fulfilled the above mentioned requirements in a 3 year period of continuous residence, he/she will need to complete a 5 year residence period in the UK under the following requirement: