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Ankara Agreement – what is the fuss all about?

03 March 2011

The Turkish European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) is also known as the Ankara Agreement. Article 41 of the Additional Protocol contains the famous "Standstill Clause" which prohibits the introduction, from its entry into force, of any new restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services by Turkish entrepreneurs. Thus, only Turkish nationals who wish to set themselves up in self-employment in the UK can apply under the Ankara Agreement.

The applicable Immigration Rules are those in force on 1 January 1973. These Rules are far less stringent than those pertaining to the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category. In particular, the applicant will not need to show funds above £200K, however he will still need to show sufficient funds to support a genuine financial investment and risk on his part in the setting up and running of the business.

An applicant will need to evidence a genuine intention to establish a business usually with a well-thought and researched business proposal. The business plan should include the following:

1.    an executive summary
2.    outline of marketing and sales strategy
3.     outline of operations
4.    timetable of establishment
5.    financial forecasts (a detailed breakdown of set-up costs, projections regarding performance over the first 12 months of operation taking into account overheads, administration, marketing and showing the business's ability to make sufficient profits to support the applicant without recourse to public funds)
6.    relevant qualifications and experience

If successful the applicant will be granted 12 months and on extension, 3 further years. He will be able to apply for settlement having spent 4 years in this category.

Entry clearance applications will be considered by the British Embassy on a case by case merit, however key to a successful application is, as mentioned above, a good business plan whereby the applicant must show that he has sufficient funds, a good projected turnover and the relevant skills. The business plan should be supported by bank statements covering the last 6-12 months, accounts, education and vocational qualifications recognized in the UK, reference letters, required licence, documents pertaining to  the prospective leasehold of business premise (if applicable). An applicant will need to show that the money to be invested in the business is their own money, solely under their control and  proportional to the nature of the business.

Please note that the application will be refused if the Entry Clearance Officer  (ECO) believes that the applicant does not intend to set up a genuine business, but will in fact be engaged in disguise employment. Disguise employment in the context of the 1973 business provisions means an attempt to present employment as self employment.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.