Genuine Entrepreneur Test UK Business Visa Tier 1

This post relates to the details of Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test and provides information relating to:
  1. How Genuineness Test for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applicants is conducted?;
  2. Genuineness Test for Initial Applications;
  3. Evaluating Available Funds;
  4. Business Plan is required with an Initial Application;
  5. Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extension Applications and Genuineness Test;
  6. Tier 1 Entrepreneur Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Applications and Genuineness Entrepreneur Test;
  7. Evidential Flexibility or Documents Verification.

How Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test is conducted?

Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test

The Genuine Entrepreneur Test for Tier-1 Entrepreneur can be conducted in the following three (3) ways:

  • where the evaluating officer deems it appropriate that there is no need for further evidence from an applicant, a paper genuineness consideration could be initiated on the evidence furnished with the application;
  • if further information is necessary from the applicant to make the paper genuineness consideration, the applicant is provided 28 calendar days from the date of request to submit this evidence;
  • if the credibility of the applicant could not be determined from a paper genuineness test, then the applicant could be interviewed either in person, by telephone or by video conference.

Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test for Initial Applications

During the assessment under Table 4 of Appendix A of the Immigration Rules, the followings need to be satisfied:

  • that the applicant genuinely intends and is able, to establish, take over or become a director of one (1) or more businesses in the UK within the next six (6) months.
  • that the applicant genuinely has established, taken over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK and continues to operate that business or businesses.
  • the money is genuinely available to the applicant and will remain available to them until such time as it is spent for the purposes of their business or businesses.
  • if the applicant is relying on one or more previous investments to score points, they have genuinely invested all or part of the investment funds required in Table 4 of Appendix A of the Immigration Rules into one or more genuine businesses in the UK.
  • the applicant does not intend to take employment in the United Kingdom other than working in their business.

Whilst making the decision the following are considered:

  • the evidence submitted.
  • the viability and credibility of the source of the money referred to in Table 4 of Appendix A of the Immigration Rules available for investment.
  • the viability and credibility of the migrant’s business plan and market research into their chosen business sector.
  • their previous educational and business experience (or lack thereof).
  • their immigration history and previous activity in the UK.
  • if the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration and/or insurance, whether that accreditation, registration and/or insurance has been obtained.
  • any other relevant information that can be considered within the context of the genuineness test for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applicants as drafted in the Immigration Rules.

Additional information can be requested to support the assessment of the application, and Tier-1 Entrepreneur Application can be refused if the evidence is not provided. Any requested documents must be received within 28 calendar days of the date of the request.

If the Entry Clearance Office (ECO) is not satisfied with the genuineness of the application in relation to a points-scoring requirement in Appendix A of the Immigration Rules, then he would not award those points. Under the Tier-1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test, an application can be refused even if the migrant meets the required points total but the application failed to satisfy that the migrant is a genuine entrepreneur.

Migrants must comply with any request made for them to attend an interview unless a reasonable explanation is provided as to why they cannot comply.

If the applicant has had a previous Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) application refused on credibility grounds, a full Genuineness Test will be carried out and application can be refused if there is no reason to believe the applicant’s circumstances have changed to show they have now become a genuine entrepreneur.

Available Funds – Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test

For Tier-1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test, the applicant may be asked to demonstrate that the funds they have used to apply under this category are still available to them beyond the date of their application. The funds must continue to be available to them until the funds are invested or spent as required by the Immigration Rules.

‘Available’ means that the funds must be one of the following:

  • in the applicant’s own possession.
  • in the financial accounts of a UK incorporated business of which the applicant is the director.
  • available from the third party or parties named in their application (if applicable).

Invested or spent by the applicant’s business excludes spending on all of the following:

  • their own remuneration.
  • buying the business from a previous owner, where the money ultimately goes to that previous owner (irrespective of whether it is received or held directly or indirectly by that previous owner) rather than into the business being purchased – this applies regardless of whether the money is channelled through the business en route to the previous owner, for example by means of the applicant or business purchasing ‘goodwill’ or other assets which were previously part of the business.
  • investing in businesses (other than those the migrant is running as self-employed or as a director).
  • any spending which is not directly for the purpose of establishing or running their own business or businesses.

It may also be appropriate to test if the funds remain available to the applicant at other stages, for example where the Immigration Tribunal has sent a case back to the Home Office for reconsideration and the evidence of funds originally provided by the applicant is significantly out of date.

Additionally, if the funds cease to be available to the applicant, this can be a ground for curtailment following the approval of a case.

If the applicant relies on third-party funding, the declaration from the third-party must confirm the funds will remain available to the applicant until they are transferred to the applicant or to their business.

Business Plan – Tier-1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test

If the applicant is making an initial application, they must provide a business plan, setting out their proposed business activities in the UK and how they expect to make their business succeed.

Extension Applications – Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test

From 6 April 2015, migrants making an extension application can be subject to a Genuineness Test.

The ECO must be satisfied that the migrant:

  • has established, taken over or become a director of one or more genuine businesses in the UK, and has genuinely operated that business.
  • has genuinely invested the money referred to in Table 5 of Appendix A of the Immigration Rules into one or more genuine businesses in the UK.
  • intends to continue operating one or more businesses in the UK
  • does not intend to take employment other than under the terms of paragraph 245DE.

The evaluation would take into account the following:

  • the evidence the applicant has submitted;
  • the viability and credibility of the source of the money referred to in Table 5 of Appendix A of the Immigration Rules;
  • he credibility of the financial accounts of their business or businesses;
  • the credibility of their business activity in the UK;
  • the credibility of the job creation for which they are claiming points for;
  • if the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration and/or insurance, whether that accreditation, registration and/or insurance has been obtained;
  • any other relevant information.

Indefinite Leave to Remain – Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test

From 6 April 2015, migrants making an application for indefinite leave to remain can be subject to a genuineness test.

The ECO must be satisfied that the migrant:

  • has established, taken over or become a director of one or more genuine businesses in the UK, and has genuinely operated that business or businesses while they had leave as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, a Businessperson or an Innovator.
  • has genuinely invested the money referred to in Table 6 of Appendix A of the Immigration Rules into one or more businesses in the UK to be spent for the purpose of that business or businesses.
  • genuinely intends to continue operating one or more businesses in the UK.

The evaluation would take into account the following:

  • the evidence that the applicant has submitted;
  • the viability and credibility of the source of the money referred to in Table 5 of Appendix A of the Immigration Rules;
  • the credibility of the financial accounts of their business or businesses;
  • the credibility of their business activity in the UK;
  • the credibility of the job creation which they are claiming points for;
  • if the nature of the business requires mandatory accreditation, registration and/or insurance, whether that accreditation, registration and/or insurance has been obtained;
  • any other relevant information.

Additional information could be required from the applicant to support the assessment of the application, an application can be refused if the evidence is not provided. Any requested documents must be received within 28 calendar days of the date of the request.

At extension and indefinite leave to remain stage, migrants must comply with any request to attend an interview, unless a reasonable explanation is provided as to why they cannot comply.

Documents Verification – Tier-1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test

Before considering a genuineness test for Tier 1 Entrepreneur, it is up-to the discretion of the evaluating officer to decide whether to apply the evidential flexibility rules and/or verify any of the documents supplied by the applicant.

It is good practice to verify documents submitted with the application before doing the genuineness test. If the ECO deem appropriate that an interview is required, then it could be undertaken straight away without the need to verify documents first.

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Related: Tier 1 Visa Grants and Refusal Rate 2017Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rate 2008-15Attributes for Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Entrepreneur Guidance

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