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Is ‘rolling out the red carpet’ enough to attract more foreign investors and high net individuals to the UK?

30 April 2011

Earlier this week the government has  published a statement of intent outlining major reform to the immigration system focusing on rebalancing the economy by supporting a private-sector-led economic recovery and rewarding those who contribute to the economic growth. The changes will come into effect on 6 April 2011 and will mainly benefit foreign entrepreneurs and investors by giving them an extra incentive to make the UK their main place of residence and invest their money in the economy.

Tier 1 Investor

Migrants coming to the UK under the Investor category will be able to take advantage of an accelerated route to settlement based on the size of their investment in the UK. Those investing £5 million will be eligible to settle in the UK after 3 years, with £10 million investment bringing the minimum residence time down to 2 years instead of 5 under the ‘old’ rules.

The new laws will benefit not only new migrants but also those already in the UK with large investments in place prior to the introduction of the new policy in April 2011.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur

There is also some good news for those with slightly less money who might qualify under the Entrepreneur category. Albeit, the standard investment threshold for an entrepreneur will remain at £200,000 from 6 of April 2011, those with £50,000 in funding from a reputable organisation will also qualify under this category. Moreover, migrants will be allowed to enter the UK with their business partners on the condition that they have access to joint funds. As an added incentive, successful entrepreneurs who create 10 jobs for resident workers or have a turn over of £5 million will be able to qualify for settlement on completion of 3 years in the UK.

Prospective Entrepreneur

From 6 April 2011 there will be a new visitor visa category, ‘Prospective Entrepreneur’, introduced to enable applicants to come to the UK to seek funding or to create a team for a new business idea. The applicants will have to show that they have access to £50,000 and, that a venture capitalist, a UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition or, a government department is committed to providing a further £50,000 for the applicant’s proposed business. Unlike the rest of the visitors, Prospective entrepreneur migrants, will be allowed to switch in-country to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category subject to meeting the relevant criteria.

Finally, the UK government recognised that investors and entrepreneurs might have been discouraged by the strict residence criteria for settlement whereby migrants were expected to spend no less than 9 out of each 12 months in the UK. The rules will now be relaxed to allow maximum absences of up to 180 days per year.



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.