This post collates and provides a summary findings of some of the most critical facets relating to the initial application, extension, switching and allowed activities under Tier-1 Entrepreneur – UK Business Immigration. The contents of the post provide an understanding of the general procedure and mechanism through which an interested business person/individual can be migrated to the UK under Tier-1 Entrepreneur. The post covers the following areas:
- Eligibility Requirements for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applications;
- Overseas Criminal Record Certificate Requirement for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applications;
- Conditions of Leave to Remain for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrants;
- Period of Leave To Remain in the UK for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrants;
- Allowed Work & Study for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrants;
- Switching from Other Categories to Tier 1 Entrepreneur;
- Application Forms for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Application;
- Cost of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Application;
- Informational Notes: Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Endorsement.
Eligibility Requirements for UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
All Successful Tier-1 Entrepreneur Applicants to Score 95 Points
To be eligible for Tier 1 Entrepreneur all Applicants are required to score 95 points in the following attributes:
- 75 points for entrepreneurial funds;
- 10 points for meeting the requirement of English language;
- 10 points for maintenance;
Minimum Age Requirement for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Main Applicant
The minimum age of the Tier-1 Entrepreneur Main Applicant must be at least 16 years. 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).
Switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur- Unconditional Consent Letter
Primary Applicants, who have or were last granted leave as:
- a student;
- student nurse;
- postgraduate doctor/dentist;
- student re-sitting an examination;
- student writing up a thesis; or
- as a Tier 4 migrant;
are required to provide UNCONDITIONAL (written consent) of the sponsoring government/agency if the Main Applicants are/were:
- currently Sponsored by a government/international scholarship agency;
- sponsored by a government/international scholarship agency and the sponsorship came to an end twelve months ago (or less);
Tier 1 Entrepreneurial Team Extension Criteria for Businessperson
Some of the extension criteria are amended for business person and innovator with leave in the predecessor routes.
Two (2) applicants can claim points for the same investment and business activity provided that they name each other on their application forms/documents. The money for investment can be shared by a team of up to two (2) entrepreneurs.
Both members of the team can work in the UK as a Tier-1 (Entrepreneur) utilising the same investment funds. A maximum of two (2) people in an entrepreneurial team are allowed. However, either of the applicants is not authorised to use the same funds with another applicant.
Job Creation Evidence- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extension Requirement
Tier-1 (Entrepreneur) migrants who invest in the same business and are not part of an entrepreneurial team preferably may not use the same evidence of job creation.
Applicants who have had an entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier-1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, business person or an innovator, in the preceding twelve months immediately before the application date, must meet the extension criteria and as they cannot utilise the initial criteria for applying.
Criminal Record Certificate Requirement for Tier 1 Entrepreneur
From September 1, 2015, Tier-1 (Entrepreneur) entry clearance main applicants and their adult dependents (above 18 such as 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.
Conditions of Leave to Remain for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrants
Leave to remain under Tier-1 Entrepreneur Migrant route is subject to the following stipulations:
- No recourse to public funds;
- Registration with the police – subject to the requirement of paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules;
- 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);
- 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 in the matter;
Tier-1 Entrepreneur Migrant Can Undertake Study in the UK
The migrant is allowed to study, but he/she is required 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 an 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.
Period of Leave To Remain for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant
Leave is usually given for:
- three (3) yrs and four (4) months for entry clearance;
- three (3) yrs for switching (leave to remain where the previous grant of leave was not as a Tier-1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, business person or innovator);
- two (2) years for extensions (leave to remain where the previous grant of leave was as a Tier-1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, business person or innovator);
Allowed Work and Study for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrants
Genuine Entrepreneur Activity- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Requirement
The Migrant(s) must only work for the business or businesses 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 (Extension and ILR);
Where a migrant enters into arrangements with another business in this capacity, this will usually be regarded as obligations for service.
The migrant may not be considered to be working for his/her own business if the work he/she does is considered to be employment 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 employment 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.
Although, Tier-1 Entrepreneur Migrants are allowed to study in the UK; however, it should not prevent the migrant from meeting the extension criteria.
Switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur from another Category
Following categories are allowed for switching:
- highly skilled migrant;
- Tier-1 (General) Migrant;
- Tier-1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant;
- Tier-1 (Investor) Migrant;
- Tier-1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant;
- Tier-1 (Post Study Work – PSW) Migrant;
- business person;
- participant in the fresh talent – working in Scotland scheme;
- participant in the International Graduate Scheme (or its antecedent, the science and engineering graduates scheme);
- post-graduate doctor/dentist;
- self-employed lawyer;
- work permit holder;
- writer, composer or an artist;
- Tier-2 migrant;
- a visitor, who has been engaging in permitted activities i.e. a prospective entrepreneur;
Tier 1 (Post-study work) switching from 11 July 2014
From July, 2014, an applicant who applies for leave to remain and has, or was last given, entry clearance permission, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier-1 (Post-study work – PSW) migrant will only be granted points under the provisions at sub-paras (b)(ii) or (b)(iii) in Table 4 (Appendix A), unless they can satisfy the stipulations of provision (d) in Table 4 (Appendix A).
If the applicant commenced their business on or after 11 July 2014, the immigration officer is most likely to refuse the application if the application does not have funding from:
- UK seed funding competition (one or more) put on the Department of International Trade (GOV.UK website);
- UK government department (one or more)/devolved government department in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland;
The applicant(s) will not be allowed a refund of their application fee.
Tier 1 (General) switching from April 6, 2015
From April 2015, if a migrant applies to switch from Tier-1 (General), he/she will be awarded NO POINTS under sub-paras (a) or (b)(i) of Table 4, in Appendix A unless he/she can meet the extra conditions in Table 4 (Appendix A).
Tier 4 (Student) switching
Although an applicant can switch from one of the following categories, there are restrictions on how the applicant can score points.
From 11 July 2014, applicants will only be awarded points under the provisions in sub-paras (b)(ii), or (b)(iii) in Table 4 (Appendix A) (£50,000) if the applicant(s) is(are) applying for permission to remain and have – or were last awarded, entry clearance, leave to enter or permission to remain as a:
- Tier-4 (General) student;
- student nurse;
- student re-sitting an examination;
- student writing up a thesis;
- Tier-4 (Child) student;
Applicants may only switch from Tier-4 (General) student if they are or were last sponsored by:
- either a UK recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution – HEI – from the Department of Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, Higher Education Funding Council England and Scottish Funding Council or Higher Education Funding Council for Wales;
- an overseas higher education institution – HEI – to undertake a short term study abroad programme in the UK;
- an embedded college offering pathway courses;
- an independent school;
Application Forms for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Application
For an application made outside the UK, the Main Applicant is required to furnish VAF9, along with PBS Appendix-3 (self-assessment form). For an extension application within the UK for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), the applicant is required to furnish SET(O).
Cost of Application- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Main Applicants
As on April 6, 2017, the application fee for the Main Applicant Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) has been revised to £982 and £1,228 for the Application made outside and inside the UK, respectively. A £55 discount of CESC (Council of Europe Social Charter) discount is applicable for the main applicant.
Back to Top | Tier 1 Entrepreneur Requirements
Additional Information- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applications
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.