UK Entrepreneur Visa Success Rate 2017 and Refusal Reasons

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success Rate and Reasons for Refusal

During April-June 2017, a total of 623 Tier 1 Entrepreneur were granted, out of which 222 Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas were given to the Main Applications and the remaining 401 to their dependant family members. Accordingly, the UK Entrepreneur Visa Success Rate 2017 for the Main Applicants was 52.67%; whereas, 70.97% for the dependant family members i.e. spouse and children under 18 years of age.

Since many enquirers are interested in knowing more details of visas granted under PBS Tier 1 Entrepreneur, therefore, for the facilitation of the interested readers, we have collated statistics relating to Tier 1 Entrepreneur from the Immigration Quarterly Reports of the Home Office UK. The post covers the following topics:

  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success, Refusal Rates during 2008-15;
    • Cumulative 18,777 Applications Made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur;
    • The Highs and Lows of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success, Refusal Rates;
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Refusal Reasons in the light of Changes in the Policy:
    • Genuine Entrepreneur Test, Business Plan, Market Research;
    • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Reasons for Refusal Pre and Post Jan 30, 2013;
    • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusal Reason before Jan 30, 2013;
    • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusal Reason after Jan 30, 2013;
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015:
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur- Statement of Changes Jan 30, 2013.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success, Refusal Rates during 2008-15

UK Entrepreneur Visa Success Rate 2017

According to the Official Statistics, the first application for Tier 1 Entrepreneur was made in the second quarter of 2008; whereas, decisions on the applications submitted outside of the UK  were initiated from the third quarter of 2008. Accordingly, since 2008 until December 2015, the success rate has been 67.22%; whereas, the refusal rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa stands at 31.94%.

Cumulative 18,777 Applications Made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur

During the eight-year period from 2008 to 2015, 18,777 Applications were made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur by the Main Applicants and their Dependents.

As on Dec 31, 2015, 18,597 Applications stood Resolved i.e. 12,501 visas were Granted (67.22%), and 5,940 Applications were Refused (31.94%).

Moreover, during eight years from 2008-15,  152 Applications were Withdrawn, and 4 applications Lapsed.

As many as 180 applications were under considerations at the Posts as on Dec 31, 2015, i.e. the difference between Total Applications Submitted (18,777) and Total Applications Resolved (18,597).

The Highs and Lows of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success, Refusal Rates

The success and refusals rates were the lowest (49.02%), and highest (45.10%) were the lowest in the first year 2008. Moreover, due to the retrospective implementation of the Changes in the Immigration on and after Jan 30, 2013, the success and refusal rates (i.e. 59.03% and 40.34%, respectively) were only second best to the initial year of 2008. The highest number of applications (5,015) were also made during 2013.

The success rate peaked at 81.77% in 2012; whereas, most Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas (3,348) were granted during 2014.

Changes in Tier 1 Entrepreneur Policy and Reasons for Refusal

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Policy since its incorporating in 2008, like any other PBS and Non-PBS Visa Policy of the UK, has undergone a number of changes. A couple of significant policy changes before Jan 30, 2013, were the introduction of Tier 1 Entrepreneurial Teams and lowering the English Language Requirements from C1 to B1. However, the major policy change was made on Jan 30, 2013,

Genuine Entrepreneur Test, Business Plan, Market Research

The changes to Tier 1 Entrepreneur introduced on Jan 30, 2013, incorporated subjective criteria in the evaluation process. These subjective criteria since then are known as Genuine Entrepreneur Test, which inter-alia, asks for Business Plan and Marketing Research with the Application. Moreover, the criteria were enforced with a retrospective effect i.e. the unresolved applications as on Jan 30, 2013, were required to be evaluated as per the covenants of the Changes to the Immigration Rules incorporated through the Statement of Changes dated Jan 30, 2013. The first four paragraphs of the explanatory memorandum provide an insight into the reasons for protecting Tier 1 Entrepreneur from abuse through the aforesaid changes.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Reasons for Refusal Pre and Post Jan 30, 2013

Keeping in view the importance and implications of changes introduced in the Tier 1 Entrepreneur on Jan 30, 2013, the refusal reasons can be divided into two broad categories i.e. Tier 1 Refusal Reasons before Jan 30, 2013, changes and after the introduction of Jan 30, 2013.

However, it is important to note as highlighted in our posts relating to UK Visa Assessment and Refusal Reasons, Documentary Evidence and Refusal Reasons and Types of UK Refusals on General Grounds, there could be more than a handful of reasons for refusing a UK Visa Application- and Tier 1 Entrepreneur is no exception. During the Visa Application Assessment process, intentions of an applicant are evaluated in the light of the documentary evidence submitted by an applicant. Moreover, irrespective of the specific Immigration Rules for a particular visa application category, all the applications are liable to satisfy the UK Visa Assessment Process that it does not fall within the ambit of Mandatory and Discretionary Refusals on General Grounds.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusal Reason before Jan 30, 2013

Some of the main reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa from outside the UK from 2008 till Jan 30, 2013, had been:

Inability of the Applicant to Score Points for the English Language- Reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusals

Since the English Language Requirement for Tier-1 Entrepreneur was set at C1, therefore, before Nov 22, 2012, when it was lowered to B1, English Language Requirement was a major hurdle to overcome for most of the applicants. Therefore, in their quest for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, some of the applicants even resorted to inappropriate measures i.e. getting C1 English Language Certificates without really reflecting the competence of English Language. Moreover, a number of applicants resorted to submitting Certificate (Degree Taught in English), which is not in accordance with the Guidelines of the UKBA.

Evidence of Third Party Funding Not to the Satisfaction- Reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusals

Business is a combination of Captial and Labour, therefore, Tier 1 Entrepreneur provides an opportunity to those applicants, who do not have GBP 200,000/- of their own, to have the third party funding. However, upon checks and requisite verifications, it transpired to the examining/assessing officer i.e. ECO that the third party funding not available and accessible to an applicant i.e. the third party funding was used only as a measure to score 75 points for availability and accessibility of money in a regulated financial institution.

The main reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa from outside the UK after Jan 30, 2013, pivots around the intentions of an Applicant, fulfilling the requirements of the Genuine Entrepreneur Test and Business Plan, the details of which are as under:

Intentions of an Applicant to do Business in the UK- Reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusals

If an applicant has not able to satisfy the ECO during the application assessment process, the ECO is not clear about the intentions of an applicant, then ECO might question the intentions of applicant i.e. the applicant is only using Tier 1 Entrepreneur as a route to settle in the UK, without doing actually doing business in the UK. Accordingly, from the evidence available with the application and where applicable during the interview process, the ECO can gather together refusal reasons to justify his opinion about the intentions of an applicant. However, for building a line of argument the ECO usually questions the elements of the genuine entrepreneur test, especially the business plan submitted with the application.

Failing to Satisfy the Genuine Entrepreneur Test- Reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusals

The Genuine Entrepreneur Test is quite subjective, therefore, during the assessment process, a number of questions regarding the genuineness of any Tier 1 Entrepreneur Application can arise. For instance, questions about the source of money, education, and skills set of the applicant to run business in the UK successfully, previous experience of the UK, business and marketing research. The ECO either through the paper genuineness test or oral genuineness test can literally fail any application i.e. realistically speaking for any case/tier-1 entrepreneur application, ample arguments can be built for either passing or failing a genuine entrepreneur test. Therefore, it is mostly a gray area and greatly depends on the quality of the documentation and the performance of an applicant during an interview. However, those applicants, who have a good track record of working as a businessperson, with adequate education and immigration history have a fair chance to pass the Genuine Entrepreneur Test.

Business Plan- Reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusals

In the post-Jan 30, 2013, era, questions about Business Plan have been the major source of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusals as most of the applicants have not given importance to the accuracy of the elements of the business plan. Moreover, there are some business plans which are fundamentally wrong in their approach i.e. instead of justifying investment in the UK, the business plan focuses on imports. Moreover, the projected figures are not logical. In case of Entrepreneurial Teams, both the applicants are giving a different version of the business plan, which is not quite akin to each other. Here also, a well made and realistic business plan for an applicant with good track record of doing business has quite a fair chance to pass all the requirements.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2008

119 Applications made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur during 2008 with a Success Rate of 49.02% and Refusal Rate of 45.10%

In the first year 2008 of Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 119 applications were made by the Main Applicants and their Dependants for Entry Clearance from Outside the UK. During the year 102 Applications for  Tier 1 Entrepreneur were resolved, and 50 Applicants (49.02% of 102 resolved applications) were granted visa; whereas  46 Applications  (45.10% of the 102 resolved applications) were refused.  A total of six (6) applications were withdrawn. Seventeen (17) applications were under process/consideration (at the Post) and awaited a decision as on Dec 31, 2008. Therefore, the success rate and refusal rate for Tier-1 Entrepreneur Visa applications during 2008 stood at 49.02% and 45.10%, respectively.

Comparision of Tier 1 Entrepreneur with the Overall UK Visa Success and Refusal Rates during 2008

The overall UK Visa Success Rate and Refusal Rate, for all types of UK Visas from outside the UK, during 2008 was 80.1% and 19.9%, respectively. Accordingly, the success rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur (49.02% during 2008) was 1.63 times less than the overall UK Visa Success Rate (80.1%) during 2008. The Refusal Rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (45.10% during 2008) was 2.26 times higher than the overall UK Visa Refusal Rate (19.9%) during 2008.

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2009

406 Applications made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur during 2009 with a Success Rate of 63% and Refusal Rate of 23.10%

In the second year 2009 of Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 406 applications were made by Main Applicants and their Dependants for Entry Clearance.

During the year 394 Applications for  Tier 1 Entrepreneur were resolved, and 298 Applicants (63% of 394 resolved applications) were granted visa; whereas 91 Applications (23.10% of the 394 resolved applications) were refused.  A total of five (5) applications were withdrawn. Twenty Nine (29) applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur awaited a decision as on Dec 31, 2009.

Comparision of Tier 1 Entrepreneur with the Overall UK Visa Success and Refusal Rates during 2009

The overall UK Visa Success Rate and Refusal Rate, for all types of UK Visas from outside the UK, during 2009 was 81.5% and 18.5%, respectively. Accordingly, the success rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur (63% during 2009) was 1.29 times less than the overall UK Visa Success Rate (81.5%) during 2009. The Entrepreneur Refusal Rate (23.10% during 2009) was 1.16 times higher than the overall UK Visa Refusal Rate (19.9%) during 2009.

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2010

566 Applications made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur during 2010 with a Success Rate of 75.75% and Refusal Rate of 22.12%

In the third year 2010 of Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 566 applications were made. During the year 565 Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applications were resolved, and 428 applicants (75.75% of 565 resolved applications) were granted visa; whereas  125 Applications  (22.12% of the 565 resolved applications) were refused.

A total of twelve (12) applications were withdrawn. Thirty (30) applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur awaited a decision as on Dec 31, 2010.

Comparision of Tier 1 Entrepreneur with the Overall UK Visa Success and Refusal Rates during 2010

The overall UK Visa Success Rate and Refusal Rate, for all types of UK Visas from outside the UK, during 2010 was 84.8% and 15.2%, respectively. Accordingly, the success rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur (75.75% during 2010) was 1.11 times less than the overall UK Visa Success Rate (84.8%) during 2010. The Entrepreneur Visa Refusal Rate (22.10% during 2010) was 1.45 times higher than the overall UK Visa Refusal Rate (15.2%) during 2010.

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2011

566 Applications made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur during 2011 with a Success Rate of 77.66% and Refusal Rate of 21.23%

In the fourth year 2011 of Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 566 applications were made by Main Applicants and their Dependants for Entry Clearance to the UK under the Immigration Rules.

During the year 1,244 Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applications were resolved, and 911 applicants (77.66% of 1,173 resolved applications) were granted visa; whereas 249  Applications (21.23% of the 1,173 resolved applications) were refused.

A total of thirteen (13) applications were withdrawn. Hundred and One (101) applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur were not resolved i.e. awaited decision as on Dec 31, 2011.

Comparision of Tier 1 Entrepreneur with the Overall UK Visa Success and Refusal Rates during 2011

The overall UK Visa Success Rate and Refusal Rate, for all types of UK Visas from outside the UK, during 2011 was 87.3% and 12.7%, respectively. Accordingly, the success rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur (77.66% during 2011) was 1.12 times less than the overall UK Visa Success Rate (87.3%) during 2011. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusal Rate (21.23% during 2011) was 1.67 times higher than the overall UK Visa Refusal Rate (12.7%) during 2011.

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2012

2,173 Applications made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur during 2012 with a Success Rate of 81.77% and Refusal Rate of 17.69%

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success Rate 81.77%, Refusal Rate 17.69% 2012

In the fifth year 2012 of Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 2,173 applications were made by the Main Applicants and their Dependants for Entry Clearance to the UK.

During the year 2,024 Applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur were resolved, and 1,655 applicants (81.77% of 2,024 resolved applications) were granted visa; whereas 358 Applications (17.69% of the 2,024 resolved applications) were refused.

A total of eleven (11) applications were withdrawn. Two Hundred and Fifty (250) applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur were not resolved i.e. awaited decision as on Dec 31, 2012.

Comparision of Tier 1 Entrepreneur with the Overall UK Visa Success and Refusal Rates during 2012

The overall UK Visa Success Rate and Refusal Rate, for all types of UK Visas from outside the UK, during 2010 was 87% and 13%, respectively. Accordingly, the success rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur (81.77% during 2012) was 1.06 times less than the overall UK Visa Success Rate (87%) during 2012. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusal Rate (17.69% during 2012) was 1.36 times higher than the overall UK Visa Refusal Rate (13%) during 2012.

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2013

5,015 Applications made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur during 2013 with a Success Rate of 59.03% and Refusal Rate of 40.34%

In the sixth year 2013 of Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 5,015 applications were made by the Main Applicants and their Dependants for Entry Clearance.

During the year 4,884 Applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur were resolved, and 2,883 applicants (59.03% of 5,015 resolved applications) were granted visa; whereas 1,970 Applications  (40.34% of the 5,015 resolved applications) were refused.

A total of twenty-eight (28) applications were withdrawn and three (3) Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applications lapsed. Three Hundred and Eighty-One (381) applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur remained pending i.e. a decision was awaited as on Dec 31, 2013.

Comparision of Tier 1 Entrepreneur with the Overall UK Visa Success and Refusal Rates during 2013

The overall UK Visa Success Rate and Refusal Rate, for all types of UK Visas from outside the UK, during 2013 was 88.2% and 11.8%, respectively. Accordingly, the success rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur (59.03% during 2013) was 1.49 times less than the overall UK Visa Success Rate (88.2%) during 2013. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusal Rate (40.34% during 2013) was 3.41 times higher than the overall UK Visa Refusal Rate (15.2%) during 2013.

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2014

4,482 Applications made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur during 2011 with a Success Rate of 68.38% and Refusal Rate of 30.78%

In the seventh year 2014 of Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 4,782 applications were made by Main Applicants and their Dependants for Entry Clearance from Outside of UK.

During the year 4,896 Applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur were resolved, and 3,348 applicants (68.38% of 4,896 resolved applications) were granted visa; whereas  1,507 Applications  (30.78% of the 54,896  resolved applications) were refused.  A total of forty  (40) applications were withdrawn, and One (1) Application lapsed.

Two Hundred and Sixty-Seven (267) applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur were not resolved i.e. awaited decision as on Dec 31, 2014. Since the number of Resolved (4,896) Applications were higher than that of Fresh Applications (4,782) made during the year by 114, therefore, the number of pending applications reduced from 381 to 267.

Comparision of Tier 1 Entrepreneur with the Overall UK Visa Success and Refusal Rates during 2014

The overall UK Visa Success Rate and Refusal Rate, for all types of UK Visas from outside the UK, during 2010 was 89.1% and 10.9%, respectively. Accordingly, the success rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur (68.38% during 2014) was 1.30 times less than the overall UK Visa Success Rate (89.1%) during 2014. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusal Rate (30.78% during 2014) was 3.01 times higher than the overall UK Visa Refusal Rate (10.2%) during 2014.

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Success and Refusal Rates during 2015

4,472 Applications made for Tier 1 Entrepreneur during 2011 with a Success Rate of 64.22% and Refusal Rate of 34.96%

In the eight-year 2015 of Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 4,472 applications were made by Main Applicants and their Dependants for Entry Clearance to the UK.

During the year 4,559 Applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur were resolved, and 2,928 applicants (64.22% of 4,559 resolved applications) were granted visa; whereas 1,594 Applications  (34.96% of the 4,559  resolved applications) were refused.

A total of thirty-seven (37) applications were withdrawn.

At the year ending Dec 31, 2015, a total of one hundred and eight (180) Tier 1 Applications stood pending.

Comparision of Tier 1 Entrepreneur with the Overall UK Visa Success and Refusal Rates during 2015

The overall UK Visa Success Rate and Refusal Rate, for all types of UK Visas from outside the UK, during 2015 was 86.9% and 13.1%, respectively. Accordingly, the success rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur (64.22% during 2015) was 1.35 times less than the overall UK Visa Success Rate (86.9%) during 2015. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Refusal Rate  (34.96% during 2015) was 2.3 times higher than the overall UK Visa Refusal Rate (15.2%) during 2015.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Issued by Nationality during 2005-15

Our post on Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa by Nationality provides a comprehensive review of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas Issued to the Main Applicants and their dependants belonging to different nationalities (such as Pakistani, Indians, American, Chinese during 2005 to 2015.

UK Visa Success, Refusal Rates from Outside the UK during 2005-15

For more information on UK Visa Success Rates and Refusal Rates from outside the UK, please read our post on UK Visa Success, Refusal Rate from Outside the UK, which provides a yearly detail of all the 2.84 million UK Visa and Immigration applications made in all the visa categories during 2005-15 and 24.36 million visas issued during that period.

UK Work and Immigration Visas Issued during 2005-15

Since Tier 1 Entrepreneur is a part of PBS, therefore, for people interested in finding out the details relating to work and immigration related, the post on Details of UK Immigration and Work Visas during 2005-15 provides details of the 1.98m UK work and immigration visas issued during 2005-15 under five categories viz. PBS Tier 1 & Pre-PBS Equivalent 206,315 Visas, PBS Tier 2 & Pre-PBS Equivalent 936,434 Visas, PBS Tier 5 & Pre-PBS Equivalent 485,120 Visas, Non-PBS  255,407 Work Visa Issued During 2005-15Other Permit Free Employment Not Allocated.

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur- Statement of Changes Jan 30, 2013

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM TO
THE STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION RULES
PRESENTED TO PARLIAMENT ON 30 JANUARY 2013 (HC 943)

1. This explanatory memorandum has been prepared by the Home Office and is laid
before Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.

2. Purpose of the Instrument
2.1. The purpose of these changes is to make changes to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
category of the Points-Based System to better protect it against abuse, while not
disadvantaging genuine applicants.

3. Matters of special interest to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments or
the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments

3.1. The Government regrets that for these changes it has not been possible to comply with the convention that changes should be laid before Parliament no less than 21 days before they will come into force, and recognises that it has given a commitment to make changes in a more orderly manner wherever possible. However, the Government considers that there are good reasons why these changes should come into force with immediate effect, namely:

  • The changes are being made in response to evidence of organised criminality and abuse by individual applicants in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category. It is clear that, following reforms to other immigration routes, loopholes in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)rules are being exploited. Funds are being re-cycled and artificial businesses are being created. The current rules must be strengthened quickly to allow for a meaningful assessment of an applicant’s claimed credentials and to prevent abusive applications being granted.
  • The changes are designed to improve the effectiveness of the current Rules and better tackle abuse rather than make strategic policy changes. The Government is not seeking to introduce new requirements or stricter Rules for genuine entrepreneurs to come to, or stay in, the UK.
  • The UK Border Agency is experiencing an unprecedented surge in Tier 1
    (Entrepreneur) applications. The evidence suggests that many of these applications are not genuine, and the UK Border Agency’s experience is that the surge would likely be made worse by giving potential applicants advance notice of the changes. The number of in-country applications has risen from 739 in 2011 to 6,878 in 2012, accelerating in the second half of the year and culminating in a spike of nearly 3,000 applications in December alone. The Government believes the spike in December was largely related to the advance notice of the changes to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category that were announced when HC 760 was laid on 22 November 2012, and which came into force on 13 December 2012 (These changes prevented students from switching into the route unless they have £50,000 funding from a specified source, such as a registered venture capitalist firm or UK Government department). Although the volume of applications has since fallen from that spike, it continues to be high and, combined with the evidence of abuse, gives rise to the need to act quickly.
  • Announcing these latest changes with 21 days notice would be likely to generate a similar spike in abusive applications to that seen in December, from those seeking to avoid the new tests of genuineness.

via Statement of Changes dated Jan 30, 2013

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