UK immigration law is under constant review and over the last few months there have been a number of changes to the Tier 1 UK investor and entrepreneur visas. Heather Landau details the key amendments.
July 2014 Entrepreneur Visa Change(s)
The Home Office has placed new restrictions on the entrepreneur visa route in response to scams from individuals and organised criminal groups.
The Tier 1 UK entrepreneur visa is intended to allow migrants the ability to set up businesses in the UK in order to create jobs and growth. Evidence from tax records has shown that people on expiring student visas are transferring to entrepreneur status under the pretence of setting up a business when they are actually working in low skilled jobs.
With the new clampdown students will only be able to switch using funds from a government-approved source, and post-study workers will need additional evidence of their business activities. Those who have not yet started a company and who do not have evidence of a legitimate business will not be able to switch from the old post-study route onto the entrepreneur visa.
November 2014 Investor Visa Change(s)
In November reforms were made to the investor visa that allowed an increase in the amount invested from £1 million up to £2 million. Applicants are no longer able to use loaned funds and 100% of the funds must be invested (in a specified way).
April 2015 Entrepreneur Visa Change(s)
The main reforms of the entrepreneur visa of April 2015 specify that the applicant must provide a business plan that sets out their proposed business activities in the UK, and how they expect to make their business succeed. The applicant must also provide evidence of the source of their funds and if the funds have been held in the applicant’s account for less than 90 consecutive days before the application date. Not only the initial applicants, but also the applicants applying for an extension and a settlement are subject the newly introduced ‘genuine entrepreneur test’.
April 2015 Entrepreneur Investor visa Changes(s):
From April 2015 the new reforms for the Tier 1 UK investor visa state that all applicants must have opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purposes of investing no less than £2 million in the UK. The minimum age requirement will be raised from 16 years to 18 years.
The applicants will no longer need to invest any additional capital, should they sell part of their investments at a loss, they will however be required to maintain all of their original capital within their investment portfolios for the duration of the specified visa.
The April 2015 changes are only applicable for applications made after 5 April 2015. Any existing visa holders or applications that are made before 5 April 2015 will fall under the previous rules.
UK immigration law changes frequently and often without much notice. While the entrepreneur and investor visas are incredible routes to starting a new life (with your immediate family) in the UK, the applications are complex and demanding, mainly due to the frequent changes in the law and consequent evidence requirements. As a result, it is strongly advised to seek out experienced immigration professional when considering an investor and/or entrepreneur visa.