Applying to the UK Entrepreneur Visa? Migreat partner Josh Henderson from Enterprise Brokers tells us more about the four common errors foreign entrepreneurs to the UK have made in the past that you want to avoid.
Since the beginning of its launch in 2008, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa has been the main door for entrepreneurs from around the world to the UK.
The aim of this visa route has been to bolster the UK economy by encouraging the very best from across globe to join in the UK’s rich and diverse markets.
In my view the scheme has been very successful both economically and culturally; however, in recent years the UK Home Office (HO) has witnessed abuse of the program. The previous Minster of immigration stated, “the entrepreneur route is now being targeted by applicants seeking to abuse the immigration rules” (Mark Harper, 2013)
This saw in an increase in applicant scrutiny and refusal as high as 50% – (Home Office, Immigration statistics quarterly release 2013).
With the Entrepreneur Visa refusal rate so high and scrutiny over abuse of the route, it is important for you to prepare the process in a well informed fashion. Here four tips to avoid a refusal for genuine entrepreneurs.
A solid business plan
As of 6th of April 2015 the initial visa application must be submitted with a business plan. This requirement is now mandatory and the secretary of state may take into account certain factors in assessing whether the applicant is a genuine entrepreneur. This includes checking the viability and credibility of an applicant’s business plan and market research in their chosen business sector (Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) of the Points Based System – Policy Guidance 06 April 2015).
Due to past abuse the HO is taking a deeper look into business plan to assess if the applicant is genuine or not. If the plan was copied from other sources such as the Internet, it can be detected by a software used by the HO.
A consistent immigration history
The UK Border Agency may call the applicant and question them on their immigration history. I myself experienced the HO investigating the intent of applicants when we had a father & son applying for an Entrepreneur Visa to open up a fast food restaurant in Leicester. After speaking with the immigration consultants in the country of origin, we found out the team had been refused an entry late 2014 due to the failure of the genuine entrepreneur test. The primary reason they were refused was that their stories did not match up whilst being interviewed. There are future implications for applicants who provide wrong information to the HO as the assessment of any new application will take into consideration their immigration history.
Don’t mistake Investment and Maintenance funds
The Home office needs to see evidence that applicants can support themselves (and dependants) in the UK whilst starting/investing in a business. Its important to point out that the investment funds are solely for the business i.e. the £200,000 required is not to be used as maintenance. This is a common mistake for many applicants who have not consulted an immigration expert. Applicant s must have access to maintenance funds of £3,310 (applications made outside the UK) and £945 (made in the UK) for the past 90 days prior to applying.
Credible Source of Funds
If the applicants’ investment capital has been in their bank account for less then 90 days when applying, the HO may ask for source of funds. Applicants must be able to show evidence of how and where they attained the capital. If the applicants cannot show sufficient evidence, they may be refused as the funds may have come from illegitimate sources.
What these points have shown is that preparation is key. Please be aware there are stringent rules with entering UK and you must know your business inside and out.
Want to know more?
Join Migreat Immigration Webinar on how to successfully apply to the UK Entrepreneur visa – Wednesday 25th November 2015 – 3pm London Time. Register now.
If you’re a global entrepreneur looking to start or join an existing company in the UK, get in touch with migreat.com to be assisted in the process by the best expert and get automatic assessment if you may be eligible to the Entrepreneur visa online via Migreat visa finder tool.