Tier 1 Entreprenuer: important changes!

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has published today a new Statement of Changes to amend the current Immigration Rules pertaining to applications made for leave to enter and remain under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Scheme.

It has also decided that these changes will take immediate effect in order to avoid a surge of applications in the next few weeks although it is customary for amendments to be laid before the Parliament no less than 21 days from their implementation.

However, these changes and their swift implementation on 31 January 2013 have been justified as a necessary response to the abuse by migrants applying since “It is clear that [..] loopholes in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) are being exploited. Funds are being recycled and artificial business are being created”.

As a result, a “genuine entrepreneur test” is being introduced to assess the credibility of applicants and their ability to invest in the UK economy when setting up a new business  or joining an existing one.

In practical, when assessing an application, the UKBA will take into account the following:

  • the evidence the applicant has submitted;
  • the viability and credibility of the source of the money;
  • the viability and credibility of the applicant’s business plans and market research into their chosen business sector;
  • the applicant’s previous educational and business experience (or lack thereof);
  • the applicant’s immigration history and previous activity in the UK; and
  • any other relevant information.

In addition, the UKBA reserves the right to request additional information and evidence to support the assessment and to refuse an application if the information or evidence is not provided. Any requested documents must be received by the UK Border Agency at the address specified in the request within 28 working days of the date of the request.

In addition, the UKBA reserves the right to curtail a Tier 1 Entrepreneur’s leave to remain in the UK if the funds were to cease to be available to the applicant, namely if they were not to be spent in the business. Please note that spending on one’s salary will not be considered as investing in the business.

We would strongly recommend any prospective applicant to seek legal advice if affected by these changes.