Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur Visas: which should you choose?

If you are a recent UK graduate, the UK entrepreneur visa and graduate entrepreneur visa are two attractive solutions to stay and start your business in the UK. But which one to pick? Here below, Migreat partners at Gherson compare the benefits of both visas.

Who is it for? 

The Entrepreneur visa is for non-EU nationals who genuinely want to establish, join or takeover one or more businesses in the UK while the Graduate Entrepreneur visa is for UK graduates who have been identified by higher education institutions and UK Trade and Investment as having developed genuine and credible business ideas and entrepreneurial skills who wish  to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish one or more businesses in the UK.

Uk visa assistance online by Migreat.com

Who is not eligible to apply for the Graduate Entrepreneur visa?

If you have previously stayed in the UK on any of the following visas or schemes you are not eligible to apply to the Graduate Entrepreneur visa:

  •      Tier 1 (Post Study Work) visa
  •      Fresh Talent
  •      International Graduates Scheme
  •      Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme

What are the main differences between applying for a UK Entrepreneur and a UK Graduate Entrepreneur visa?

While for both visas you will need to demonstrate that you have a genuine business plan with supporting evidence, outlined below are the major differences between applying to each of them.

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 14.41.45

Expert Tip: You may be able to switch into the UK Entrepreneur visa at the end of your 2 years as a Graduate Entrepreneur if your business is successful.

Why would you choose the graduate entrepreneur route over the entrepreneur route?

The Graduate Entrepreneur visa allows you to start your business without meeting the hefty financial requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. To renew either visa, or to swap from the Graduate Entrepreneur visa to Entrepreneur visa, all you need to do is prove that your business is running successfully rather than raising large sums of money.

Is the UK the ‘land of opportunity’ for entrepreneurs?

Starting up a business in the UK gives global entrepreneurs access to some very favourable conditions for conducting business, including:

  •      A domestic market of 62 million
  •      500 million customers in Europe
  •      These consumers tend to be early adopters of technology and also have high disposable incomes.
  •      A favourable geographical position for trading globally across time zones
  •      A favourable political environment for conducting business

UK Work and Business Visas by Migreat.com
“the future of [the UK] economy depends on a new generation of entrepreneurs coming up with ideas” – David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
Although the stringent tests required to evidence entrepreneurial visas may discourage some potential entrepreneurs from coming to the UK, the attitude of the UK government is clear: “The UK remains open to the brightest and best – genuine entrepreneurs with the ideas and motivation to drive economic growth will always be welcome in the UK.”

For more information on the implications of current immigrations rules on the flow of international entrepreneurs to the UK, you can read Migreat’s report“A UK Immigration System open to Innovation and Promising Entrepreneurs?” that was published earlier this year.

Check if you are eligible to the Entrepreneur or Graduate Entrepreneur visa, using Migreat.com Visa finder.

This guest blog post was produced by Gherson, an award-winning, leading independent London law firm specialising in UK immigration.

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