The Entrepreneur visa UK route under the Points Based System of the Immigration Rules allows applicants to come to the UK to set up a business. The minimum score required to qualify under this system is 95 points. It is a preferred option for many, including individuals who have graduated from UK institutions as well as those with industry experience abroad. It has a 5 year path to settlement and applicants can bring dependent family members with them.
The requirements for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa UK are wide ranging. Here, we will set out seven key areas to keep in mind for anyone considering this route for UK Immigration.
Funding: Option One – £200,000
An individual must have at least £200,000 of their own funds available to them as a fresh investment into business in the UK. This can be individually or as part of a team. Third party money can be included to form the funding and is required to be transferred to and held by the applicant for at least 90 days. In cases where the funds have been held by the applicant for less than 90 days or held by the third party at the time of the application, then the third party must provide assurance that the funds will be available to the applicant.
Funding: Option Two – £50,000 ( For Graduate Entrepreneurs)
The second option is available exclusively to individuals whose funding is through one of the following sources:
- A registered Venture Capital firm regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
- Prize winnings from a UK Entrepreneurial seed funding competition which has been endorsed by the Department for International Trade
- UK government departments or devolved government departments in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and the funds are made available by the particular department for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a business of the UK
An individual is required to show that they have adequate funds available to support themselves and any dependents. These funds cannot be the same as the fund used for investment purposes. Individuals applying to enter the UK will need to show that they have £3,310 (minimum) of personal savings which they have held for at least 90 days before the date of the application. For applicants going for an LTR (Leave To Remain), the personal savings requirement is £945.
Location of Funds
A regulated financial institution must be holding the funds to be invested. What this means is that there should be a regulator regulating the institution (e.g. bank or building society). If the fund is not held in the UK, then it must be transferable and convertible to British Pounds Sterling.
A business plan is required if you are an individual seeking to make the first application (initial application). This will chart out what the applicant’s proposed business is, how it will operate, appropriate market research, projected turnover, and profit. It is best to approach the business plan as if it is being pitched to potential investors. This implies that market research is not generic, that projected turnover is based on evidence and that you have the necessary skills and resources to accomplish the goals of the business.
Genuine Entrepreneur Test
The Genuine Entrepreneur Test is the step where the majority of applications fail. This test is applied to all individuals looking to make an initial application but is a test that the Home Office might consider again in later applications as well. The Home Office will then decide whether they believe you are genuinely intending to start a business (or take over), whether the money is indeed available to you and that you do not have any intentions to take on other work except for the work of your business. The purpose is to assess how well you know your own business in order to rely on it.
The Home Office may include an interview as part of an applicant’s Genuine Entrepreneur Test. The interviews may be quite rigorous. The interviewer will ask the applicant questions about their background, expertise, funding and business plan. It is crucial that the applicant know all aspects of their potential business. The Home Office then also has the right to request more information, which must be provided within 28 days of the request.
Funds must be Disposable in the UK
All the funds demonstrated in order to gain points for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa UK under the Points Based System, must be disposable in the UK; meaning the funds must be able to be used for investment within the United Kingdom.
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