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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa - Working and Business Visas in the UK

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (category closed for new Applicant's from April 2019)

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa has now been replaced with the Tier 1 Innovator Visa category and brings a significant change to the way in which a person can set up a business in the UK. 

Those holding a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa can continue to apply under this route and extend their leave to remain. Therefore those holding a visa under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant, or the a Start-up migrant, having previously held leave as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant can continue to extend their leave to remain and benefit from the provisions of that category.

If you have completed your 5 years residency and qualify for indefinite leave to remain under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category, you can apply for settlement based on the published policy. 

The idea behind the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
We know that the UK is the hub of financial services and the best place to do business, due to the streamline processes we have available. The markets are regulated and businesses must comply with strict trading standards.

Each council have Trading Standards Officer who investigates wrongful business activities. This provides an entrepreneur an environment where they can compete in business fairly, building consumer confidences in a business. 

Now coming to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category, its aim was to allow a person to set up or take over a business in the UK, investing either the £50,000 or the £200,000 in the business. The funds are not to be used to purchase an existing business or conduct business in the property industry.

There are restrictions that apply and you must ensure you do not fall for refusal. In practice, most people who apply for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa will need to have £200,000 of available funds held in a regulated financial institution. A fully, comprehensive business plan is required. 

In reference to what is termed as a business for the purposes of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company registered with companies’ house. 

How are the criteria’s set out for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

The immigration rules sets out the key framework which needs to be applied when you apply for the visa and you will need to satisfy the 75 points set out on Appendix A of the Immigration Rules. You will be also asked to meet the English language requirements as well as the maintenance threshold. 

If you look at the threshold of the 75 points, the Home Office also referred as the UK Visas and Immigration unit, you will need to provide clear evidences of your funding, whether that is at £50,000 or the £200,000. The source of funding would need to be provided and how the funds would be made available in the UK for the business. 

Unlike other visa categories, the Home Office may conduct a genuine entrepreneur testing, to ask questions related to your business, the idea, the concept, the financial forecasting and other relevant details, to assess whether you intend to set-up or take over a business in the UK. Further to this, questions related to your business and working experiences are examined. In addition, your qualification is used to complete the assessment. 

When applying for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, you will need to provide extensive documentation to prove each requirement are being met; applications made with insufficient or wrong documentation will be refused. 

With ICS Legal you can be fully confident that you will receive a quality service, you can be assured that we will handle all documentation required and assist in compiling an impeccable business plan to secure the visa. 

The evidential flexibility policies are applied on the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications. The purpose is to correct missing evidences and give you an opportunity to rectify small mistakes that could get the application approved. However please do not confuse yourself and expect that the Home Office will inform you of missing evidences to meet the requirements.

Once the application for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is considered and granted, then the initial visa is then granted for 3 years and 4 months. 

Applying for your extension as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant

All extension applications must be lodged prior 6th of April 2023 and this applies to those holding a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. If you hold a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, then you can extend your leave under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur before 6th July 2025. 

In order to meet the requirements of the extension, you will need to demonstrate that the funds of either the £50,000 or the £200,000 have been invested and you can evident in the application file. You would need to show clearly that the funds have been invested which is allowed. For example, you cannot claim that funds have been used to pay your salaries as this is not acceptable. 

You will then be asked to provide evidences that you are registered with HMRC or listed as a partner or director of a UK business. In addition, you may be asked to show that you have met the requirements within 6 months of entering the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa category.

Moving on, the job creation is required to be met. You will need to show that following establishing a new business, you have created at least 2 full time employments in the UK, both of whom are settled in the UK. If you have taken over a business, then you need to show that there has been 2 employments created in addition to the existing workforce. All of these are documented in HMRC payroll system. 

Finally, both the English language requirement is met automatically unless you have used an English language test certificate and you will be required to meet the maintenance requirements. 

We understand that the Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension visa application comes with strict guidelines, and at ICS Legal, we can advise & help on this. Please take a moment and complete our free assessment by clicking here

You should include any dependents that are on your current visa on your application to extend including children who have turned 18 during your stay.

Applying for indefinite leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Once you have completed 5 years of continuous residency in the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain, also referred as settlement. 

You will need to first make sure you do not fall for refusal under general grounds of refusal, which can include the good character requirements to be met. 

Further to this, you will be asked again to provide evidences of your investment and how the funds had been invested into your business. With the extension, you must provide evidences of your business registration or your HMRC registration, confirming that you are operating as a business. 

You will be also asked to demonstrate that you have created 2 employments or have existed in the last 12 months prior to the date of application. 

The knowledge of life requirements including the appropriate English language requirements will need to be met by you and your dependants unless they are exempted. You must not have exceeded 180 days of absences during your qualifying periods. 

Finally, the adequate financial requirements would need to be met, as the maintenance requirements are no longer required. There is an alternative way of applying for indefinite leave to remain sooner and you can apply once you have completed 3 years of residency. 

You will need to show that there have been 10 full time job creations in the last 3 years. If this cannot be met, then you need to demonstrate you have generated income of at least £5 million in income.  

What comes after Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

Well, those who have secured indefinite leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur can choose to apply for British nationality. Your dependants may qualify for British nationality without applying, however you will need check this prior making any application.

British Nationality laws can change over time, however in essence; you need to have lived in the UK holding ILR for a period of 12 months and meet the strictest policy on absences. Unlike the ILR, British Nationality is by way of discretion, which means, this does not need to be granted even if you meet all the published requirements. 

Taking legal advice on the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

We at ICS Legal will provide guidance and correct advice on the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. We can also assist on the business plan to the visa application and advice throughout the course of the application process. 

You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on 0207 237 3388 or you can email us at info@icslegal.com if you are considering to apply under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. 

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