Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Are you looking to start your own business? Do you have between £50,000 – £200,000 to invest into either a new business or an existing one?

Potential employers are frequently unwilling to embark on sponsorship for those with little experience, e.g. new graduates the Government’s point of view the brightest and the best are worth sponsoring and the Entrepreneur category is there for those who have a great business idea and are prepared to follow it through.

What are the requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category and how achievable is it?

This category is part of the Points Based System, and points are awarded for investment, maintenance and English language.  Applicants need to score a minimum of 75 points.

As part of the investment element, applicants must have access to at least £200,000 of their own funds (or funds made available to them by third parties), or they must have £50,000 available to them via a venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI); and/or a UK Government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business.   Applicants are required to show that they have the required sum within their control, although they are also allowed to rely on funds that have been invested in a business that was started in the UK whilst under a different immigration category.

In January 2013, the Home Office amended the Immigration Rules, so as to require that the applicant undergoes a ‘genuine entrepreneur test’, perhaps as a result of the increase in applications made under this category.  The Home Office explained this was done to ‘root out’ non-genuine “entrepreneurs” who are applying under this category merely because they have no other route available to them.

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route is temporary.  However, it does allow individuals to extend or to apply for permanent residency (settle) in the UK if they prove to be successful entrepreneurs.  Extension or permanent residency applications are considered by reference to a number of criteria, including the number of jobs created and the investment raised or the revenue created within a specific timeframe.

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category is recognised by many as an extremely complex process.  Our UK Immigration Practice has assisted entrepreneur visa clients across numerous industries from many countries worldwide. We pride ourselves on having commercially aware business immigration lawyers who take the time to understand your business needs and advise accordingly.  Contact a member of the Immigration department at Magrath LLP for expert advice and guidance in relation to obtaining a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.