Tier 1 Entrepreneur Guidance for Entry Clearance

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Guidance | Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa New RulesThis relates to Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance 2018 for the initial application, switching and allowed activities. Accordingly, the post guides relating to the following aspects of UK Business Visa Tier 1 Entrepreneur:

  • Tier 1 HS Entrepreneur Requirements
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Team
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur £50,000
  • Min Age of the Main Applicant
  • Funds in a Regulated Financial Institution
  • Genuine Entrepreneur Test
  • Business Plan
  • English Language and Maintenance Funds
  • Overseas Criminal Record Certificate
  • Switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur from:
    • Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)
    • Tier 2
    • Tier 4
  • Entry Clearance Application Form and Fee
    • Visa Endorsement and Additional Information
  • Period of Leave To Remain in the UK
  • Job Creation
  • Conditions of Stay- Leave to Remain in the UK
  • Allowed Study in the UK
  • Work Restrictions (Can I work on business Visa in UK?)
  • Settlement – ILR
    • Accelerated Settlement
    • Settlement (ILR) Application Form and Fee
  • Immigration Rules Statement of Changes Jan 2018
    • Job Creation
    • Confirmation of Hourly Wages
    • Real Time Full Payment Submissions
    • Third Party Funding
    • Venture Capital Funding
    • Preventing Recycling of Funds
    • Directors’ Loans
    • Registration with Companies House within 8 Months
    • Switching from Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)
    • Switching from Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)
    • Format and Contents of Letters used as Evidence
    • Switching from Tier 1 (General)

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Policy Guidance and Requirements

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is for non-EEA nationals who wish to invest in the UK through setting up or taking over and being actively involved in the running of, one or more businesses in the UK. 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.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Team

A maximum of two Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicants can form an entrepreneurial team and claim points for the same investment. The applicants must have equal control over the funds and business or businesses and be named in each.

As explained in Paragraph 52 of Attributes, 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.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur £50,000

Additionally, there is a provision to allow migrants to apply at a lower funding threshold of £50,000, providing the funding comes from either:

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

Minimum Age of the Main Applicant

The minimum age of the Main Applicant is 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).

Funds in a Regulated Financial Institution

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 it is being provided by a third party.

Genuine Entrepreneur Test

All Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants making an initial application are also subject to a genuine entrepreneur test and must therefore show that:

  • they genuinely intend and are able to establish, take over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK within the next six months;
  • they genuinely intend to invest the requisite money in the business or businesses referred to;
  • 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
  • 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.

Business Plan

Further, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants making an initial application are required to provide a business plan to the Home Office, setting out their proposed business activities in the UK and how they expect to make their business succeed. The viability and credibility of the business plan and market research into the chosen business sector are also taken into account, along with the criteria outlined in paragraph 2.6, as part of the genuine entrepreneur test applied by caseworkers.

English Language and Maintenance Funds

They are required to satisfy the relevant English language requirements to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B1, and demonstrate that they hold savings of £3,310 (or £945 if applying from within the UK) to satisfy the PBS maintenance requirements. Higher maintenance requirements apply where the migrant is accompanied by dependants. Applicants must have £1,890 for each dependant if applying from outside the UK or if they have been in the UK for less than 12 months. This sum is £630 for applicants who have been in the UK for more than 12 months.

Criminal Record Certificate

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.

Switching To Tier 1 Entrepreneur

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;
  • business person;
  • innovator;
  • investor;
  • 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;

Switching from Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)

In terms of statements of changes dated Dec 7, 2017, redundant transitional arrangements relating to applicants switching from Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) are being removed. This is because leave as a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Migrant was granted for two years and the category was closed on 6 April 2012.

Switching from Tier 2

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).

Switching from Tier 4

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;
  • student nurse;
  • student re-sitting an examination;
  • student writing up a thesis;
  • Tier-4 (Child) student.

Moreover, they 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).

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.

Entry Clearance Application Form and 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.

Visa Endorsement and Additional Information

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.

Period of Leave To Remain in the UK

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}.

Conditions of Leave to Remain in the UK

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

Allowed 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.

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.

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 United Kingdom; however, it should not prevent the migrant from meeting the extension criteria.

Settlement – ILR

After this extension period, the migrant can apply for settlement if the applicant continues to satisfy the requirements above and has spent a continuous period of five years lawfully in the UK, of which the most recent period must have been as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant. The applicant must not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any of the five consecutive 12 month periods preceding the date of the application for leave to remain.

Accelerated Settlement

Migrants can apply for accelerated settlement in the UK after three years continuous residence if they have created at least 10 new full-time jobs in their business for persons settled in the UK, or established a new UK business that has had an income of at least £5 million, or they have taken over or invested in an existing UK business, and their services or investment have resulted in a net increase of £5 million in that business’ income. Aside from these, all other requirements are the same as for an extension application.

Settlement (ILR) Application Form and Fee

The settlement form is called ‘SET (O), which is used for applying indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a Main and Dependant Spouse/Child Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant. The normal specified fee is £2,389 per applicant for standard applications made by post or courier.

Postal Address: Home Office, SET(O), Indefinite Leave to remain, PO Box 591, Durham, DH1 9FS.

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).

Immigration Rules Statement of Changes Jan 2018

According to the Statement of Changes dated Dec 7, 2017, which will be effective from 11 January 2018. The “Attributes” requirements for this category in Appendix A are being rewritten to make them clearer and easier to follow. There are also consequential minor changes to Part 6A. The requirements themselves are unchanged, other than the following:

Job Creation

The job creation rules currently require jobs to have existed for at least 12 months during the applicant’s most recent period of leave. A change is being made to enable applicants to apply even if their current leave was granted less than 12 months ago; in such cases the jobs must have existed for at least 12 months before the date of the current application.

A transitional arrangement relating to the job creation requirement for applicants who entered the category before 6 April 2014, currently set out in published guidance, is being incorporated into the Immigration Rules. This transitional arrangement will only apply to extension and settlement applications made before 6 April 2019.

Confirmation of Hourly Wages

Applicants will be asked to confirm the paid hours of the employees in jobs they created as well as the hourly rate, to reduce the possibility of calculation errors.

Real-Time Full Payment Submissions

An amendment is being made to the requirement relating to Real-Time Full Payment Submissions, to reflect the fact that these documents do not state the employment start date.

An amendment is being made to the requirements relating to job creation so that the required evidence relates to the period before the applicant joined the business, rather than the period before jobs were created. This provides a clearer demonstration of the applicant’s impact on the business.

Third Party Funding

Clarifications are being made to make clear that, where funds are currently held by another business, which is not the business the applicant is using to score points, that business is considered to be a third party providing funding.

Venture Capital Funding

Applicants relying on investment from a venture capital firm will now be required to also provide a letter from the firm confirming the date(s) the funds were transferred to the applicant or invested in their business and that the firm was registered with the Financial Conduct Authority at the time. This requirement is added to counter ongoing abuse relating to venture capital funding.

Preventing Recycling of Funds

To prevent recycling of funds between applicants, a change is being made so that applicants cannot rely on funds or investment that have been provided by another Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, or that migrant’s business or close family member. Who is considered to be a close family member will depend on the facts in an individual application.

Directors’ Loans

On 19 November 2015, Statement of Changes HC 535 introduced a requirement that investments made in the form of directors’ loans must be evidenced through readily identifiable transactions in applicants’ business bank statements. A change is being made so that this requirement only applies to investments made after 19 November 2015.

Registration with Companies House within 8 Months

A provision is being removed because it contradicts the rule requiring applicants to be registered with Companies House within 6 months of the date the applicant entered the category. The removed provision requires that such registration has to be effected within 8 months of the same date.

Switching from Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)

Redundant transitional arrangements relating to applicants switching from Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) are being removed. This is because leave as a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Migrant was granted for two years and the category was closed on 6 April 2012.

Qualifying Investment

A clarification is being made to the rule which excludes buying the business from its previous owner from being considered as a qualifying investment, to clarify that this means buying any business from its previous owner.

Format and Contents of Letters used as Evidence

Minor amendments are being made to the requirements concerning format and contents of letters (used as evidence) for consistency.

Switching from Tier 1 (General)

Clarifications are being made to the evidential requirements for Tier 1 (General) migrants switching into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category to make clear the relevant dates for evidence.

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