HS Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance under New Rules 2019

This guidance relates to HS Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance under New Rules 2019. And explains Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Investment Funds, Maintenance Funds, English Language, Entrepreneur Team, Genuine Entrepreneur Test (Business Plan) requirements, success, and refusal rate.

Please note, effective from March 29, 2019, the Innovator visa UK has replaced Tier 1 entrepreneur. In terms of paragraph 245DB(a) of the Immigration Rules, the Tier 1 entrepreneur migrants in the UK can continue to apply for the extension and settlement under the route till 5 April 2023 and 5 April 2025, respectively.

1. Overview 2. 95-Points 3. Investment Funds 4. Maintenance Funds 5. English Language 6. Genuineness Test (Business Plan) 7. Guidance Notes 8. Statistics

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1. Overview

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance under New Rules 2019

Briefly, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is for those individuals who wish to invest a min capital of £200,000 (or $50,000) through setting up or taking over one or more businesses in the UK. The migrant needs to actively run a business in the UK. The Tier 1 entrepreneur route is points-based. Therefore, an applicant needs to score ninety-five points for Investment in a UK Business, English Language and Maintenance Funds. However, apart from scoring 95 points, since Jan 2013 an applicant also needs to satisfy the requirements relating to genuine entrepreneur test and business plan.

2. 95-Points

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance New Rules 2019

An applicant needs to score 95 points for Tier 1 entrepreneur entry clearance application for the following attributes:

  1. access to investment funds – 25 Points
  2. the investment funds are held in one or more regulated financial institutions – 25 Points
  3. funds are disposable in the UK – 25 Points
  4. CEFR Level B-1 English Language requirements – 10 Points
  5. Maintenance Funds – 10 Points

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3. Investment Funds 75-Points

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance New Rules 2019

Those who apply under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category must demonstrate that they have access to £200,000 which they will invest in one or more businesses in the UK. The funding must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions, must be disposable in the UK, and must have been held by the migrant for at least 90 days unless a third party is providing it.

£50,000 Investment Funds

An applicant can apply for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa with a min of £50,000, if funding comes from:

  • a registered venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); or
  • an entrepreneurial seed funding competitions (e.g., accelerator programmes) listed on the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) website; or
  • UK government departments or devolved government departments in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. And the funding is available for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a business

Tier 1 Entrepreneurial Team

Two migrants may make a joint application under Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. Accordingly, can claim 75-points for the same £200,000 or £50,000 investment. However, in terms of Paragraph 52 of Appendix A Attributes for Tier 1 Entrepreneur, no more than two partners may claim points for the same investment funds, job creation and business activity.

How to Form a Genuine Tier 1 Entrepreneur Team?

The immigration rules are quite silent about the persons who can form a team for doing business under the Tier 1 entrepreneur route. However, it is expedient to form only a genuine Tier 1 entrepreneur team and not to create a team for reducing the financial burden per applicant. A Tier 1 entrepreneur team consists of one entrepreneur and one inactive member to dilute the investment requirement may represent an abuse of the route.

It is quite rare to form a business partnership with a total stranger. Therefore, a Tier 1 entrepreneur team of two total strangers without any common background may not hold sway. Accordingly, prima facie it may look like only an arrangement for applying as Tier 1 entrepreneur team without a genuine intent of doing business. Certainly, such an arrangement may not be able to pass the genuine entrepreneur test.

A team consisting of a close family member such a father forming an entrepreneurial team with above 18 years old daughter is quite practical. Moreover, a team consisting of existing business partners is also maintainable.

Equal Control

In terms of Paragraph 52 of Appendix A Attributes for Tier 1 Entrepreneur, no more than two partners may claim points for the same investment funds. And for the same job creation and business activity in the subsequent extension and settlement applications. Moreover, Tier 1 entrepreneur team/partner also need to meet the following requirements:

  • (a) The applicants have an equal level of control over the funds. And where relevant, equal status as owners, directors and/or members of the business or businesses in question
  • (b) The applicants are both shown by name, passport number and (where relevant) Points-Based System reference number in each other’s applications and in the specified evidence required in the relevant table
  • (c) Neither applicant has previously been granted leave as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant based on investment and/or business activity linked in this way with any applicant other than each other if the same funds were relied on in a previous application.

Award of Points

No points are awarded for investment, job creation and business activity shared with another Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicant, except under the terms of paragraph 52.

If the applicant is not the sole member or director in the business, they must provide confirmation of the names of the other members or directors and whether any of the other members or directors are also Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrants.

For other members or directors, an applicant is required to provide the dates the other persons became members or directors and whether they are applying under the provisions in paragraph 52 of Appendix A and if they have made (or are making at the same time) an application in which they claimed points for creating jobs, the names of the jobholders in question.

4. Maintenance Funds – 10 Points

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance New Rules 2019

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa issues with a condition of no recourse to public funds. Therefore, applicants need financial savings to support the cost of living in the UK. Accordingly, as per Appendix C, an applicant requires to score 10 points for the requisite level of maintenance funds in financial savings.

Accordingly, for entry clearance and leave to remain applications, the main applicant requires £3,310 (or equivalent in local currency) and £945, respectively. Moreover, there are no requirements for maintenance funds for ILR (settlement) applications under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. Certainly, for points scoring, the funds need to be in a personal savings account in a regulated financial institution for at least 90 consecutive days before the application date. Any money earned is not acceptable, when the applicant was in breach of the UK’s immigration laws, as evidence of maintenance funds.

Dependants

Any dependant wishing to either apply with the main applicant or subsequently join the main applicant need to provide evidence that they have sufficient funds. However, if a dependant is applying as the family member of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant then he/she cannot use the same funds to meet the maintenance requirement that the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) has already used to meet the requirement (Appendix A of the Immigration Rules).

Accordingly, for entry clearance and leave to remain applications, each dependant usually requires £1,890 and £630, respectively. However, if the Main Applicant is already in the UK for more than six months then for an entry clearance application the dependant only requires £630/- instead of £1,890/-.

Dependants Joining the Main Applicant

As per Appendix E, the level of maintenance funds required for the dependant applicant(s) depends on the length of time the main applicant is in the UK. If the main applicant is in the UK for less than six months then £1,810/- are required for each of the dependant family members i.e. spouse and children under 18 years of age. However, if the main applicant is in the UK for more than 6 months then the requisite maintenance funds per dependant are £630/-.

For instance, the Tier 1 Migrant has been in the UK for 6 months and is making an application at the same time as their spouse and two children. Accordingly, the migrant requires to have £1,890 for spouse and a further £1,890 for each child. And also £945 for own support. In total, the family will require evidence that they hold £6,615 in available funds (£1890 x 3 = £5670+£945). However, if the same migrant had been present in the UK for two years, the applicants would only require to have £2835 funds (£630 x 3 = £1890 + £945) for maintenance.

Proof of Maintenance Funds

For scoring 10 points for Tier 1 entrepreneur maintenance funds, an applicant needs to furnish cogent and verifiable evidence of the financial savings in a regulated financial institution. However, if an applicant fails to do so then the caseworker/ECO is likely to refuse the application. Therefore, it is very important to furnish the requisite proof of maintenance funds in the regulated financial institution.

Financial Services

The funds must be in the form of cash savings and not overdraft facilities. Other accounts or financial instruments such as shares, bonds and pension funds, are not acceptable regardless of notice. Accordingly, an applicant may provide one of the following evidence for scoring 10 points for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Maintenance Funds:

  1. personal bank or building society statements covering 90 consecutive days. And the most recent statement must be dated no earlier than one calendar month before the date of the application
  2. building society passbook covering the previous 90-day period
  3. letter from the bank confirming their funds and that they have been in the bank for at least 90 days
  4. letter from a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or, in the case of an overseas account, the home regulator (official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located), confirming funds
  5. Any other types of bank statements printed on the bank’s letterhead as a proof of maintenance

The document must clearly show the applicant’s name, account number, date of the statement, name of the financial institution and its logo. And also transactions covering the 90 day period and that there are sufficient funds present in the account (the balance must always be at least £3,310 or £945, as appropriate).

Bank Letter

An applicant need to provide the evidence of personal savings, which cover a period of 90 consecutive days. The bank letter date should not be more than one calendar month before submitting the application. Moreover, the documents must:

  • be original and on the financial institution’s official letterhead
  • have the organization’s official stamp
  • be issued by an authorized official of the financial institution.

Bank Statements

Perhaps, an applicant can furnish electronic bank statements of an account, if these contain all of the requisite details listed above. However, needs to provide a supporting letter from the bank, on a letterhead, confirming the statements provided are authentic. Moreover, the electronic bank statement has the official bank stamp on every page.

Inappropriate Documents

Certainly, an applicant needs to provide the proof of Tier 1 entrepreneur funds for at least 90 consecutive days. Therefore, these types of evidence are not acceptable:

  • mini-statements from automatic teller machines
  • statements which simply show the balance in the account on a particular day

Apparently, evidence such as ATM mini-statement and account balance certificate, do not demonstrate the applicant holds sufficient funds for the consecutive period of 90 days.

The Cost of Living in the UK

The cost of living in the UK is much higher than the level of requisite Tier 1 Entrepreneur maintenance funds requirements. Therefore, at times, most prospective applicants really do not understand: why the level of maintenance funds for Tier 1 entrepreneur main and dependant applicants are lower than that for family settlement and Tier 4 student visa applicants. Apparently, the requisite amount for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Maintenance Funds is an estimate to cover the cost of living for the first month in the UK. Perhaps, with the assumption that an applicant will be able to generate reasonable income afterwards to support his/her living cost. And also for the living cost of the dependant family members i.e. spouse/civil partner and children under 18 years of age.

Certainly, the requisite maintenance funds is an arbitrary figure as the cost of living varies from person to person and family to family. Therefore, it is expedient for an applicant to estimate the actual cost of living not only for the first but till the time an applicant thinks that business in the UK will not be able to generate income. Consequently, if an applicant does not expect to get any income from business in the UK after the first month, then an applicant must ensure to have ample funds support himself/herself and any dependant family members.

5. English Language – 10 Points

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance New Rules 2019

As per Appendix B of the Immigration Rules, the Tier 1 entrepreneur English Language requirements are CEFR B1 or above. However, dependants do not need to fulfil any of English Language requirement. Moreover, an applicant can meet the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa English language requirements if they:

  1. have passed an approved English language test aka secure English language test (SELT)
  2. are a national of a majority English speaking country
  3. have a degree taught in English
  4. had met requirements in a previous grant of leave

Here it is important to mention most applicants opts for English Language Test by undertaking IELTS for UKVI (General Training- GT). Moreover, an applicant needs to score B-1 or above in all the four modules of IELTS i.e. reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

A National of a Majority English Speaking Country

In terms of paragraph 6(i) of Appendix B, a national of a majority English speaking country means a national of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA. However, for scoring 10 points for the English language, the applicant needs to provide a valid Passport or Travel Documents issued by any of the aforementioned country.

A Degree Taught in the English Language

If an applicant has obtained a bachelor’s degree or above either from the UK or from English-speaking countries mentioned at Paragraph 7(i)(3) of Appendix B, then the applicant can meet the English Language requirements by submitting the degree. However, if a bachelor or above qualifications of the applicant is from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh etc. then the applicant can contact UKNARIC for issuing the requisite certificate for meeting the requirements for scoring ten points for the English Language.

6. Genuineness Test and Business Plan

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance New Rules 2019

When introduced in 2008, the entrepreneur route for migrant was a points-based application. However, over the years due to the abuse of the route, the Home Office does not assess and decide application on points. And there are a lot of subjective factors such as an applicant’s:

  • personal academic background
  • experience
  • business plan
  • market research
  • nature of business
  • job creation

Accordingly, the evaluation of all these factors leads to the subjective nature of the application to establish the genuineness of investment funds, business activity and job creation. Certainly, the entrepreneur route is only for establishing a genuine business in the UK. However, most of the applicants tried to seek UK settlement under the route without doing a meaningful business activity.

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.

Background

The reason for conducting the genuine entrepreneur test is linked with the purpose of the Tier 1 entrepreneur route. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur immigration route is an effective route to allow entrepreneurs to set up and grow a business for delivering significant economic benefits to UK residents. Since its introduction in 2008, there has been a wide spectrum of activity on Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route. At the top end, there are examples of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants establishing highly innovative, high growth potential businesses. At the bottom end of the spectrum, there is no significant activity that is neither entrepreneurial nor economically beneficial to UK residents. In between, there is a substantial proportion of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants establish low-value businesses with the limited potential to grow or contribute to innovation or productivity growth.

In most cases, the applicant was unable to show sufficient knowledge about their business plan or had no evidence to show that they had carried out any market research. There were a few cases where the caseworker had commented that large parts of the business plan seemed to have been taken from generic examples from a commercial website providing off-the-shelf business plans.

Requirements

In terms of paragraph 245DB(f) of Immigration Rules, all Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants making an initial application are also subject to a genuine entrepreneur test and must, therefore, show that:

  1. they genuinely intend and can establish, take over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK within the next six months
  2. they genuinely intend to invest the requisite money in the business or businesses referred to
  3. the money is genuinely available to the applicant and will remain available to the applicant until such time as it is spent for the purposes of their business or businesses and
  4. they do not intend to take employment in the UK other than working in their business

The genuine entrepreneur test can also be applied when applications for leave to remain and indefinite leave to remain are being considered. Here it is important to note that since entrepreneurship is risky and, many genuine entrepreneurs fail. However, the low evidence of tax activity suggests that there is a reasonable amount of non-compliance, which makes genuine entrepreneur test altogether more critical extension applications.

Business Plan

In terms of paragraph 245DB(g), for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur initial application an applicant needs to provide a business plan. The business plan sets out the proposed business activities in the UK. And explain how the Tier entrepreneur migrant expects to make their business a success. Moreover, the decision-maker also takes in to account the viability and credibility of the business plan and market research as part of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Genuineness Test requirements.

Considerations

Whilst making the decision the following are considered:

  • the evidence submitted.
  • the viability and credibility of the source of the money, which is 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

Assessment

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

  1. where the evaluating officer deems it appropriate that there is no need for further evidence from an applicant, paper genuineness consideration could be initiated on the evidence furnished with the application;
  2. 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 the request to submit this evidence;
  3. 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.

Decision

If the immigration officer 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.

Impact

The introduction of the genuine entrepreneur test has been a contributing factor in the rise in Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) application refusal rates which rose from 36 per cent in 2012 to 49 per cent in 2014 for in-country applications and for out-of-country applicants rose from 21% in 2012 to 44% in 2014.

Since the year ending June 2014, just over half of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications have been successful. The refusal rate for out-of-country Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications increased significantly in 2013, driven by the introduction of the genuine entrepreneur test. In the year ending June 2015, 2,033 Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) main applicant out-of-country applications were resolved, of which 975 were refused, indicating a refusal rate of 48 per cent. This refusal rate had fallen back to 44 per cent in 2014 from its peak of 52 per cent in the year to March 2014 but has since risen again. The refusal rate for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is high and is significantly higher than the refusal rates for the Tier 1 Investor and Tier 2 routes in the same period, standing at nine per cent and two percent, respectively.

7. Guidance Notes

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance New Rules 2019

Minimum Age

In terms of paragraph 245DB(o) of Immigration Rules, the minimum age of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur (Main Applicant) must be at least 16 years. Moreover, for under the age of 18 main applicants, it is required that their legal guardian/sole parent must undertake the legal responsibility to support their application and to give their consent to the applicant’s travel arrangements/reception and care to the United Kingdom (UK).

Criminal Record Certificate

In terms of paragraph 245DB(r) of Immigration Rules, from September 1, 2015, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) entry clearance main applicants and their adult dependents (above 18 such as a spouse) are required to provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any/all country (countries), where they have resided in continuously for 12 months (or more) during the preceding ten (10) years before the application.

Application Fee

For an application made outside the UK, the Main Applicant and dependants can apply online. As of April 6, 2018, the application fee for the Main Applicant Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) has been revised to £1,021 for the Applications made from outside the UK.

Additional Documents

Additional information can be requested to support the assessment of the application. If fact, the decision-maker can refuse the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa application if the applicant does not provide the specified evidence. Moreover, an applicant needs to furnish any requested documents within 28 calendar days of the date of the request.

Additionally, applicants also need to comply with any request made by the decision-maker attend an interview unless an applicant provides a reasonable explanation as to why he/she cannot comply.

Interview

An immigration officer can call the Tier 1 entrepreneur applicant for an interview. Therefore, it is mandatory to attend the interview. However, if an applicant is not able to attend the interview then in terms of paragraph 245DB(n) needs to provide a reasonable explanation.

Duration and Validity

Leave is usually given for:

  • three (3) yrs and four (4) months for entry clearance
  • three (3) yrs for switching (leave to remain)
  • two (2) years for extensions (leave to remain)

Paragraph 245DC of the Immigration Rules explains that if the initial application for Tier 1 Entrepreneur is successful then a visa for a duration of three (3) years and four (4) months is issued to the applicant. Here it is important to add that in term with Paragraph 245D an applicant has been granted Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa for establishing, joining or taking over one or more than one business in the UK, therefore, the applicant is not entitled to Public Funds and the employment is limited to own business. Moreover, the applicant is required to register with the police in accordance with Paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules. A Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant can undertake studies in the UK in terms of Part 15 of the Immigration Rules.

Conditions of Stay in the UK

Leave to remain under Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant route is subject to the following stipulations:

  1. No recourse to public funds – Migrants under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category are not permitted to access public funds and they must register as self-employed or as the director of a new or existing business.
  2. Registration with the police – subject to the requirement of paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules.
  3. Employment limit to the own business – i.e. applicant cannot take any employment other than working for the business (es) he/she has established, taken over or joined. Moreover, working for his/her own business (es) does not include any other work the applicant does pursuant to – in line with – a contract of service/apprenticeship with any other business (whether express or implied, written or oral).
  4. Sportsperson – no employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach). This condition applies to applications made after April 6, 2011, but the biometric residence permit (BRP) only contained this condition from December 1, 2012. If the ECO comes across someone without the condition on their BRP, who is working as a sportsperson or coach, the ECO is required to contact the economic migration policy team of the Home Office for advice on the matter.

Work Restrictions

The Migrant(s) under the Immigration Rules can only work for the business or businesses that he/she has established, taken over or joined. Working for his/her own business (es) does not include any work the migrant does under a contract of service or apprenticeship for any other business (either express or implied, oral or written). The migrant is required to be:

  • employed as the director of the business the migrant has invested in;
  • working in a genuinely self-employed role for Extension and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.

Employment

The Home Office does not consider a Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant working for own business if the migrant is employed by another business. For instance, where the migrant’s work involves the business, in effect, hiring the migrant for the labour or to fill a position or an opening. This holds where the business hires the individual using a recruitment or employment company. Contracts entered into by the migrant with any other business in this capacity will usually be regarded as contracts of service. This is also applicable even if the applicant declares the work is undertaken on a self-employed basis. The evaluating immigration officer is required to consider the factors set out at Employment Status Index when he/she deems necessary that the migrant’s work amounts to:

  • genuine self-employment: the migrant works for the business he/she has established, joined or taken over;
  • employment by any other business.

If the evaluating immigration officer considers an applicant’s work to be employed by another business, he may take into account such to be working in breach of the migrant conditions of stay. Accordingly, this makes migrant liable for curtailment and/or removal order. Indeed, Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrants are allowed to study in the UK. However, it should not prevent the migrant from meeting the extension criteria.

Endorsement

Entry clearance requirement is mandatory, and biometric information is required for applications made in the UK. The Entry Clearance endorsement (CAT D) is Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, and the Entry clearance condition code is Code 1 (+bus) (+sport). Code of leave to remain granted is Code 4D. Dependants are allowed such as spouse and children under 18 years of age. The time spent in as Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant counts towards indefinite leave to remain (ILR). For ILR Applications knowledge of language and life is required. The CID case type is Tier 1 HS Entrepreneur and Paragraphs 245D – 245DF, and appendices A, B and C are the relevant Immigration Rules governing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migration to the UK.

Study

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants can study in the UK. However, need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for the course/research he/she intends to undertake and present it to the respective education institution before he/she starts study if:

  • they are over age 18 (or will be over 18 by the time their leave expires);
  • their course is EITHER a doctorate/master’s degree by research in one of the disciplines enumerated in Paragraph 1 (Appendix 6 of Immigration Rules) OR a taught master’s degree/other post-graduate qualification in one of the disciplines highlighted in Paragraph 2 (Appendix 6) of the Immigration Rules. A period of study/research more than SIX (6) months in one of the disciplines noted in Paragraph(s) 1 OR 2 (Appendix 6) of Immigration Rules at an institute of higher education, where this forms component of overseas post-graduate eligibility.

If their course (or research) completion date is postponed or delayed for more than three (3) months, or there are any alterations to the course contents (or the research proposal), they must apply for a new ATAS certificate within twenty-eight (28) calendar days, and must present a printout of the fresh certificate to their institution promptly.

8. Statistics 2008-18

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Success and Refusal Rate

The Home Office introduced Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route in 2008 to replace other business immigration routes such as the Businessperson and Innovator routes. According to the Official Statistics, in the 2008 Q2, the Home Office granted the first Tier 1 entrepreneur visa. During 2008-18 a total of 80,801 Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications decided for Entry Clearance (30,213) and leave to remain (50,588 including extensions). Table No. 1

Please note the extensions (17,215) grants to the main applicants are higher than entry clearance (7,573) grants. In fact, extension grants are more than entry clearances as the Home Office allows switching from other PBS routes. Therefore, a large number of applicants switched from other PBS routes such as Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 Post Study Work, Tier 2 and Tier 4 to Tier 1 Entrepreneur.

During the 2008-18, a total of 47,837 applicants made successful Tier 1 entrepreneur applications. Therefore, the average Tier 1 entrepreneur visa success rate has been 59.20%. Moreover, a total of 32,746 applicants made unsuccessful applications. Accordingly, the average Tier 1 entrepreneur visa refusal rate has been 40.53%. Moreover, a total of 214 and 4 applications withdrawn and lapsed, respectively.

Entry Clearance

During 2008-18, a total of 30,213 Tier 1 entrepreneur entry clearance applications decided. Accordingly, a total of 13,635 and 16,578 decisions relates to the Tier 1 entrepreneur Main Applicants and their dependants, respectively. During the period 20,080 Tier 1 entrepreneur visas issued to the Main Applicants (7,573) and their dependants (12,507). Accordingly, the average Tier 1 entrepreneur visa success rate for entry clearance applications have been 66.46%. However, the success rate for dependants applicants (75.44%) is higher than that for the main applicants (55.54%). Table No. 2

Moreover, during 2008-18, a total of 9,195 Tier 1 entrepreneur entry clearance applications have been refused for Main Applicants (6,054) and dependants (3,953). Accordingly, the average Tier 1 entrepreneur visa refusal rate for entry clearance applications have been 32.82%. The refusal rate for dependants applicants (23.84%) is certainly quite lower than that for the main applicants (43.73%).

Main Applicants

From 2008 to June 2018. a total of 13,686 Main Applicants applied for Tier 1 Entrepreneur entry clearance visa. And 13,635 applications resolved for entry clearance as Tier 1 entrepreneurs. And 98 and 2 applications withdrawn and lapsed, respectively. During the ten-year period, 7,573 main applicants get entry clearance under the route. However, 6,054 applications refused. Accordingly, the average Tier 1 entrepreneur success and refusal rate for entry clearance is 55.54% and 43.75%, respectively. Table No. 3

Success Rate

The immigration statistics indicate a variation of 30% in the annual success rates during the ten-year period. Apparently, Tier 1 entrepreneur success rate for main applicants during 2012 was 78.06%. However, it came down quite drastically in 2013 to touch a level of 49.18%. Due to the drastic change in the policy announced on Jan 30, 2013. The success rate increased in 2014 to 55.40%. However, afterwards in 2015 again came down to reach its lowest ebb of 48.01%.

Since 2016 the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa entry clearance success rate for the main applicants is showing an upward trend. Accordingly, the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa success rate has increased from 48.01% to 50.28% during 2016. And the success rate further increased to 54.14% in 2017. Moreover, during 2018 the Tier entrepreneur visa success rate increased to 56.95%, which is 1.41% higher than the 10-year average of 55.54%. Therefore, a high success rate, which during Q4 2018 has further increased to 61%, is promising for genuine entrepreneurs.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Success Rate 2008-18

Type Decisions Success Rate
Entry Clearances 30,213 66.46%
Extensions 50,588 54.87%
Total 80,801 59.20%

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Entry Clearance Success Rate 2008-18

Type Decisions Success Rate
Main Applicants 13,635 55.54%
Dependants 16,578 75.44%
Total 30,213 66.46%

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Success Rate - Main Applicants

Year Decisions Success Rate
2008 56 48.21%
2009 173 68.21%
2010 255 74.12%
2011 557 75.58%
2012 898 78.06%
2013 2,371 49.18%
2014 1,962 55.40%
2015 1,912 48.01%
2016 1,615 50.28%
2017 1,799 54.14%
2018 2,037 56.95%
Total 13,635 55.54%
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