Anyone considering applying for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa should do so as soon as possible. The UK Government is likely to bring in further and possibly more restrictive changes to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa following the recommendations made to it by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on 29 October 2015.

Currently a non-EU national can apply to come to the UK to set up a new business or buy an existing business by showing that the applicant:

  • has £200,000 to invest;
  • has the requisite English Language Qualification; and
  • is a genuine entrepreneur.

Where the individual is already in the UK and qualifies under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, the investment figure is lowered to £50,000.

The MAC found that whilst there were examples of migrants establishing “innovative high growth businesses” it also found evidence of “low quality” businesses being established. It has therefore recommended that the entrepreneur route should be reformed to enable the UK to only attract entrepreneurs with innovative business proposals. It has proposed that migrant entrepreneurs should be selected by an appointed panel of industry experts such as venture capitalists or angel investors. Alternatively, that the Home Office should recruit Immigration Officers who have requisite skills and qualifications to review business plans, and work with other Government departments such as UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) or Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), or outsource the assessment of business plans to a professional services firm.

It also recommended that the Government should try to target the most talented entrepreneurs looking to establish start-up businesses in the UK and that it should consider introducing a separate highly selective route with UK trade and investment accelerator programmes being authorised to endorse individuals.

Anyone considering applying for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa should do so promptly, failing which, they may be faced with having their business plans scrutinised in much greater depth by a third party expert.

If you have any concerns about the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route or any other immigration enquiry, please contact Dhruti Thakrar – Head of Immigration, or a member of the Immigration team at Edwin Coe.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

Edwin Coe LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (No. OC326366) and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, London WC2A 3TH. "Partner" denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing. Our privacy notice which we are obliged to give you under the GDPR is available here.

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