Tag Archives: Entrepreneur visa tips

[VIDEO] How to Successfully Apply for the UK Entrepreneur Visa

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is the main legal door for entrepreneurs from around the world to start a business to the UK.

It aims to offer a red carpet for global entrepreneurs to build a business and spark innovation and growth in the British economy.

Although the scheme has seen a great take up, the UK home Office has recently started tightening the screws due to alleged abuses. This situation translated into an increase in applicant scrutiny leading to a refusal rate growing up to 50% – (Home Office, Immigration statistics quarterly release 2013).

In addition to a more stringent scrutiny, the Home Office requires from applicant to present a business plan as well as take a genuine entrepreneur test.

But how can an entrepreneur prove that his enterprise is genuine? How is the credibility of a business plan assessed? What are documents should be presented? In other words, what is a successful application according to the Home Office?

These are few of the questions we asked our immigration expert during our last webinar:

UK Exceptional Talent visa: what do you have to gain from applying to it?

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas are granted by the Home Office to applicants who have been endorsed by Tech City UK as world leaders in the field of tech and will allow holders to initially enter or remain in the UK for a period of three years to pursue their work. 

UK visa to work in startups in london
London Tech City – Photo credit: itproportal.com

The tech sector is booming in the UK and this route creates a new opportunity for the best and the brightest from around the world to come to the UK to work.  Below, Migreat expert Leslie Sarma lists the benefits for you to consider for this exciting visa opportunity.

Benefit 1 – staggered application fees

This visa is applied for in two stages:  first the applicant applies for an endorsement from Tech City UK and then, once that’s granted, the applicant applies for a visa from the Home Office to come to (or stay in) the UK in line with that endorsement.  In an effort to keep costs down for applicants, the Home Office has staggered the application fee – you’ll pay half the fee when you apply for your endorsement and will only have to pay the other half when you make your visa application after the endorsement is in place.  Low risk, high reward. 

Benefit 2 – no employer sponsor needed to apply

Applicants in this category do not need to be sponsored by a UK employer – unlike other UK work visas. You’ll have to show that you’re a world leader in your field and meet various eligibility criteria, but you do not need to have a specific role lined up here – or, if you do have a role in mind, you won’t need to ask that employer to apply for a sponsor license and go through the tier 2 process if they don’t wish to.

Benefit 3 – no funding requirement

As above, applicants in this category will need to meet a variety of criteria in order to be endorsed and a specific set of documentation will be required.  There is no requirement, however, that applicants demonstrate funding at a certain level if they wish to come into the UK to start a business in this category (although they will have to show they have sufficient funds to support themselves once they arrive). This means you can spend the time in the UK building your business without having to secure investment first (unlike if you were applying to the UK Entrepreneur Visa)…and you can work in the UK’s tech sector while you do it. 

UK work visas for startups
Photo Credit: The Guardian Blog

Benefit 4 – limited work restrictions

Once in the UK, holders of this visa have very limited work restrictions.  They can work for an employer or be self-employed; they can also start businesses of their own and/or work freelance in several roles at once.  This allows for the agility and flexibility needed to grow your network here in the UK and meet your goals. 

Benefit 5 – attainable extension requirements

In order to extend your initial visa as a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent for tech migrant, you’ll need to show that you have earned money as a result of employment or self-employment (including profits from a business you’ve started) in your expert field while you’ve been in the UK in this category.  You’ll also have to show that Tech City UK has not withdrawn their endorsement of you.  You won’t have to show that you’ve created jobs in the UK or that you’re earning at any specific level (but please note that there are specific document to be provided, so be sure review the Home Office’s rules and guidance carefully at the time you apply). 

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Could Tier 1 Exceptional Talent be right for you?

Since its inception in April 2014, there have been very few applications for endorsement in this category – visas are available! Check out the list of requirements to know if you are eligible on Migreat blog’s previous post. The Tech London Advocates community is terrifically excited about this opportunity and encourages the best and brightest from around the world to consider this avenue to come to the UK.  The tech sector is rife with opportunity in the UK – come join us!

If you want more information on how to apply for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, you can ask our experts online on migreat.com.

leslie-sarmaThis guest blog post is provided to you by Leslie Sarma, Associate at Penningtons Manches LLP and co-chair of Tech London Advocates Talent and Immigration Working Group.

Are you eligible for the new Tier 1 Exceptional Talent UK visa?

In a previous post, we announced the availability of 200 visas for talented individuals in the tech sector to come to the UK, in a category known as Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) for tech. These visas are granted by the Home Office to applicants who have been endorsed by Tech City UK as world leaders in their field and will allow holders to initially enter or remain in the UK for a period of three years to pursue their work. Holders of this visa can be self-employed, work for a company or even start their own business – it’s a great fit for the fast paced tech sector.

In this post, we will look at the criteria for endorsement for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa by Tech City UK. Can you meet these criteria? If so, this could be your route to a career here in the UK.

Qualification One – Do you have a proven track record of innovation in the digital technology sector?

In order to meet this threshold, you will have to demonstrate your success in your chosen field of technology. This success can come as a director or founder of a tech sector company; or as an employee of a tech sector company. If you’re demonstrating your track record as an employee, you’ll need to show that you have a distinguished reputation in your field and/or that you’re an executive level employee holding shares in the business.

Take note that there is no requirement that the company you started or worked for be a certain size or profitability level – startups are not excluded! If you can show that you’ve got high level experience and a strong reputation in your area, then you may meet this requirement.

Business man using tablet PC

Qualification Two – Can you provide a letter of recommendation from a recognised UK expert who is familiar with your work and contributions to your field?

Every application for endorsement must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a UK based expert who is qualified to support your claim to be a world leader in your field. This expert should be a senior member of an established organisation with a national or international reputation for expertise in your field.

There is no specific list of acceptable organisations or individuals from which to get your recommendation letter – use your networks to find the right organisations and get advice.

Qualification Three – Do you meet at least two of the qualifying endorsement criteria?

Finally, all applicants for endorsement must demonstrate that they meet at least two of the following four criteria:

  • having led in the development of new or leading-edge technology;
  • having had significant commercial success in the digital technology sector;
  • having received or been nominated for a prestigious internationally recognised prize in the digital technology sector; and
  • having been recognised as a world-leading talent in the digital technology sector.

There is no set list of evidence to be provided to prove that you meet these criteria, but examples could include:

  • evidence of awards, speaking engagements or authorships;
  • proof of technical contributions such as maintenance of an open source project, demonstration of product or application development or evidence of contribution to patents; and/or
  • evidence of any active (or recently dissolved) digital technology businesses you have established outside of the UK.

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Photo Credit: Bloomberg

There is no hard and fast list of evidence to be provided and it will ultimately be up to Tech City UK to determine whether the evidence you have provided meets the criteria. More examples and guidance can be found in Tech City UK’s Eligibility and Assessment Criteria, which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-endorsement-for-tier-1-exceptional-talent-visa

And keep in mind that once you are endorsed by Tech City UK, you will need to make a further application to the Home Office for your visa to come to the UK in line with this endorsement. Obtaining the endorsement does not guarantee this application will be successful, particularly if you have an adverse immigration or criminal history.

 

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Could Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) be right for you?

Since its inception in April 2014, there have been very few applications for endorsement in this category – visas are available! To know the full advantage of applying to the visa, we have listed them in a blog post titled UK Exceptional Talent visa: what do you have to gain from applying to it?The Tech London Advocates community is terrifically excited about this opportunity and encourages the best and brightest from around the world to consider this avenue to come to the UK. The tech sector is rife with opportunity in the UK – come join us!

If you want more information on how to apply for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, you can ask our experts online on migreat.com.

leslie-sarmaThis guest blog post is provided to you by Leslie Sarma, Associate at Penningtons Manches LLP and co-chair of Tech London Advocates Talent and Immigration Working Group.

5 benefits of starting a business in the UK under the Tier 1 Graduate and Entrepreneur visas

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and Graduate Entrepreneur Visa are making it easier to start a business and live in the UK.  While the UK benefits from your entrepreneurial activities creating employment and providing economic stimulus, you also stand to benefit.

Below we asked our partners Gherson solicitors to list the 5 key benefits of starting a business in the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa routes. If you are looking for more information on eligibility and funding requirements, Migreat blog and website has covered the topic in many of its blog posts in the past. Just follow our entrepreneur visa category or ask directly our immigration experts online on migreat.com 🙂

1.    UK residency

The Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur visas allow you to live and work anywhere within the UK for the duration of the visa.

As long as your business is successful, it’s quite easy to have your visa extended or transfer from your Graduate Entrepreneur visa to the Entrepreneur visa .

You can apply for permanent residency within 5 years but if your yearly turnover exceeds £5 million or you employ at least 10 people, permanent residency can be achieved in only 3 years.

UK visa assistance - Migreat.com

2.    Bring your family

Both the Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur visas allow you to keep your family together. You can bring your spouse and any children under the age of 18 with you to the UK.

3.    Education and Healthcare

Under both of these visas, your children have access to the UK educational system and your family has access to the UK’s NHS free healthcare system.

4.    Favourable economic conditions

After a period of generally disappointing growth in 2011 and 2012, the UK economy has shown clear signs of recovery during 2013 which is expected to continue in 2014-15.

The good news is that this is spread between all major industry sectors and regions which are all now showing positive growth trends.

UK work visas assistance by Migreat.com
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

5.    Favourable political conditions

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.”It’s also widely accepted by academics, industry leaders and policy makers including David Cameron that:

It’s also widely accepted by academics, industry leaders and policy makers including David Cameron that:

“the future of [the UK] economy depends on a new generation of entrepreneurs coming up with ideas”.

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For more information on the differences between the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visas, you can check our experts’ tips in a previous post.

If you have any questions or issues regarding applying for the UK Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur visas, you ask our experts online on migreat.com or listen to our podcast below on the topic of entrepreneurial visa to the UK.

This guest blog post was produced by Gherson, an award-winning, leading independent London law firm specialising in UK immigration. Contact Gherson solicitors and ask for professional assistance on visa & immigration on migreat.com

UK visa opportunities for talented individuals in the UK Tech sector

On 6 April 2014, the Home Office officially expanded the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category to include 200 earmarked visas for the tech sector.  This is an exciting opportunity for leaders in the sector to come to the UK to work or start a business – and it could be right for you.

Here below, Leslie Sarma from Penningtons and TLA advocate for easier immigration processes, describes who is eligible and the application process to the UK Exceptional Talent visa. For more information and if you have questions, feel free to reach out to Leslie via migreat.com.

Business woman and  project

These visas are targeted at individuals with proven track records of achievement in the tech sector.  If granted, holders of this visa will be able to come to the UK for an initial period of three years – they will not require sponsorship by an employer and they will not be required to meet a specific funding threshold to apply.  In order to apply, individuals must first obtain an endorsement from Tech City UK, demonstrating that they meet the “exceptionally talented” threshold.  If endorsed, they will then be able to make an application to the Home Office for entry clearance or leave to remain using that endorsement.

Step 1 – Endorsement from Tech City UK

The first step is applying for an endorsement from Tech City UK.  The fee to apply for endorsement is 437 GBP; and that’s payable at the time you apply for the endorsement.  In order to make this application, you’ll need to send specified documents to the Home Office so that they can be assessed by Tech City UK demonstrating that you are a world leader in your field and that you meet at least two of the qualifying criteria, which are:

  • having led in the development of new or leading-edge technology;
  • having had significant commercial success in the digital technology sector;
  • having received or been nominated for a prestigious internationally recognised prize in the digital technology sector; and
  • having been recognised as a world-leading talent in the digital technology sector.

Documents will include: a specified form, your CV and a letter of recommendation from a recognized UK expert in your field.  You’ll also have to submit documents demonstrating which qualification criteria you meet, and how you meet them.  There are specific requirements for these documents, so be sure to review the Tech City UK Eligibility and Assessment Criteria, which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/300203/TCUKGuidanceDocument-2.pdf

Please keep in mind that even though Tech City UK will be granting the endorsement, you must send the form and documents to the Home Office at the address provided.  The Home Office will notify you by email if the endorsement has been granted.

Global Business Meeting with World Map
UK’s tech sector open to international exceptional talent

Step 2 – Application for Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain

Once your endorsement has been granted, you can make the second stage application to the Home Office for your visa.  There is a further fee of (in most cases) 437 GBP to complete this step.  You may need to make this application from inside the UK or outside of the UK depending on where you live now and your current UK immigration status (if you already reside here).  Once you have your endorsement, this stage of the process should take less than three weeks (although of course this can’t be guaranteed!)

 

The Tech London Advocates community is hugely excited about this opportunity for the sector and we encourage the best and the brightest from around the world to consider this option. We have listed the full benefits of applying to the visa this year in another blog post “what you can gain from applying to the new Exceptional Talent visa”

The tech sector is growing fast in the UK – it is an incredibly exciting time to be here.  Come join in and make your mark.  Make the system work for you with the exceptional talent visa!  And if it’s too confusing, too expensive, too slow – Let migreat.com know and they will work to assist you or put you in touch with experts who can help!

leslie-sarmaThis guest blog post is provided to you by Leslie Sarma, Associate at Penningtons Manches LLP and co-chair of Tech London Advocates Talent and Immigration Working Group.

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.

Entrepreneur visas: a comparison of the 12 countries where Entrepreneurs are welcomed

This 4 more countries have joined the global trend of startup visas this year 2015: France, Denmark, Netherlands and South Korea; and more are to come (Israel and US).

To grow knowledge on these visas, Migreat here compares the start-up visas of 12 countries worldwide and share some insights about the current trends of European Immigration policies for entrepreneurial migrants.

2015 is a good time to be an entrepreneur!

Ireland just reformed their immigration system to lower the minimum funding requirement to apply to the visa, and have passed a law to make it easy to recruit foreign talents for startups (the trusted partner initiative) in hope to better attract global global talent to its tech industry.

Italy and Spain have introduced fast-track visas for innovative startups and entrepreneurs.

Similarly, Denmark and Netherlands have just launched their start-up visas in January 2015. France announced the equivalent of a startup visa with the FrenchTech Ticket – a six-months incubation program in english and in paris for foreign entrepreneurs.

Comparing 12 existing start-up visas

Because the topic of immigration is a complex one, we put all of the information in one giant infographic below.

Startup Visa worldwide by Migreat

If you read the graph above and compare, you will notice interesting things:

  • The “cheapest” Entrepreneur visa is in Chile where you are not asked to bring investment to the country, quite the opposite: they provide you with funding! This said, it does not mean it is easy to get because you will have to get accepted in the very selective Startup Chile Accelerator.
  • Only Canada offers a permanent resident visa. All other countries provide only a temporary visa to Entrepreneurs. It positions Canada Entrepreneur visa as the most welcoming. For European countries such as Spain or Italy, the visa is a temporary one but easily renewable.
  • Funding requirement varies across countries and still some similarities can be exposed:

In most case, applicants  accepted in an accelerator recognised by the country state will not need to show funds to apply to the visa.

Exception made of the UK which offers to “lower” the minimum amount of initial investment applicants have to show if they are accepted by one of the UK recognised accelerator.

Overall a general 50K Euros is asked in Europe as proof of funds and it echoes the 50K pounds asked in the UK.

  • Italy created a complete welcome package along its Italian startup visa: not only it creates a fast track but it provides guidance for foreigners and local contacts to support the growth of the business. Innovative business can benefit from major tax breaks opportunities; and startups are invited to join a supportive local system of incubators. Italy is definitely trying to compete with the UK eco-system and its network of leading accelerators.

Download Migreat report comparing Entrepreneur Visa schemes worldwide for free and ask your visa questions to immigration experts on Migreat.com.

[Updated article: June 29th, 2015]

Funding requirements for UK Entrepreneur visa applications: a complete guide by UK immigration experts Gherson*

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa is for those wishing to immigrate to the UK and use their expertise to start, take-over or join one or more businesses based in the UK.

One of the more confusing aspects of applying for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is understanding the funding requirements. Depending on the migrants particular circumstances there are different options.

Funding for your entrepreneurial venture and to apply to the UK Entrepreneur visa - Image credit to TaxCredits.net
Funding for your entrepreneurial venture and to apply to the UK Entrepreneur visa – Image credit to TaxCredits.net

Three main options for raising the required funds
If you are looking to move to the UK on the UK Entrepreneur visa, you have three choices for raising the required funds:

  •      Cash savings
  •      Venture capital or UK Entrepreneurial seed funding competitions endorsed by the UK Trade and Investment
  •      Money from one or more UK Government Departments or devolved Government Departments in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

Cash: Family and Friends

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You will need to have available £200,000 in cash savings. This can be raised by yourself or with the help of third parties. To prove that you have access to this money, you will need a letter from the institution holding the funds to confirm the money is available to you. The letter must:

  •      Be an original
  •      Be written on the organisation’s official stationary/letterhead
  •      Have been issued by an authorised official of that institution
  •      Be under 3 months old
  •      Confirm that the institution is regulated by an appropriate body
  •      State your name
  •      State your account number
  •      Be dated
  •      Confirm that the money is available
  •      If the money is not in a Financial Conduct Authority or Prudential Regulation Authority fund (basically, a British financial institution), the letter must state that the funds can be transferred to the UK.

If the money is being made available by a third-party or parties, the letter must also show:

  •      The institution knows the money is to be made available to the applicant and no-one else
  •      The name and contact details of all third parties
  •      A valid copy of ID
  •      The relationship to the applicant
  •      Confirm that the money will remain available until transferred to the applicant

You must also give:

  •      A letter from an independent legal representative verifying the signatures and declarations
  •      Proof of the legal representatives authority to practice

Venture Capital & Seed Funding Competitions
Connections to VCs and Governments endorsed programs can help greatly get you a UK Entrepreneur Visa

You will only need to raise £50,000 if you’re raising the required funds for your Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa through any of these sources. To prove that you have access to these funds you will need to produce a recent letter from an accountant  engaged by the venture capital firm who is a member of a recognised UK supervisory body confirming the amount of money has been granted to you or to the business which you are a director of, and so funds for which you have access to.  The documents must also:

  •      Be an original
  •      Be written on the organisation’s official stationary/letterhead
  •      Have been issued by an authorised official of that institution
  •      Be under 3 months old
  •      State the applicant (and their partners’ name, if appropriate) or the name of the applicant’s business
  •      Be dated
  •      Confirm the amount of money available to the applicant, entrepreneurial team or business
  •      Confirm the name and contact details of the organisation providing the money
  •      Confirm that the money will remain available until transferred to the applicant
  •      A letter from an independent legal representative verifying the signatures and declarations
  •      A letter confirming the legal representatives authority to practice

UK Government Departments
UK Government Internet famous Logo

You will only need to raise £50,000 if you’re raising the required funds for your UK Entrepreneur visa. To prove that you have access to these funds you will need to produce a recent letter from an authorised official from a UK government department confirming the amount of money has been granted to you for carrying your business activities.  The documents must also:

  •      Be an original
  •      Be written on the organisation’s official stationary/letterhead
  •      Have been issued by an authorised official of that institution
  •      Be under 3 months old
  •      State the applicant (and their partners’ name, if appropriate) or the name of the applicant’s business
  •      Be dated
  •      Confirm the amount of money available to the applicant, entrepreneurial team or business
  •      Confirm the name and contact details of the organisation providing the money
  •      Confirm that the money will remain available until transferred to the applicant
  •      A letter from an independent legal representative verifying the signatures and declarations
  •      A letter confirming the legal representatives authority to practice

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If you have any questions or issues in regards to funding requirements for the UK Entrepreneur visa, you can ask guidance from our immigration experts online and for free on migreat’s questions & answer forum.

This guest blog post was produced by Gherson, an award-winning, leading independent London law firm specialising in UK immigration. Contact Gherson solicitors and ask for professional assistance on visa & immigration on migreat.com