In today’s blogpost we will be covering the latest policy changing suggestions from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in regards to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. We will examine the potential impact that these changes may have should the come into force.
The MAC this week published its long awaited report into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa where it called for a more selective approach to improve the quality of applicants citing increased economic benefit as a result. They have also recommended that the government creates a new route tailored to talented entrepreneurs who are seeking to launch their start-up businesses in the UK..
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is a popular option for non-EEA nationals who want to start a business in the U.K. The applicant must have access to either £50,000 or £200,000 (depending on circumstances) to invest in an existing business or create one, pass an English language test as well as other requirements. The visa itself is issued for a period of 3 years and 4 months and can be extended for a further two years. After a period of 5 years of residing in the United Kingdom the applicant can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Accelerated settlement exists as an option should the business meet certain Home Office requirements in regards to staff and turnover.
Some of the key finding of the MAC report include:
- Evidence of low quality businesses being established
- Migrants using the entrepreneur visa as an alternative to the Tier 1 Investor visa which requires investment of £1,000,000
- Strong evidence of high growth potential businesses being created
The recommendations, amongst others, that the MAC suggest are:
- Industry experts should be in charge of selecting applicants
- Closer monitoring of successful applicants who establish their business in the U.K
- UKTI accelerator programs providing backing to selected applicants under a limited place scheme
- Third party endorsement for applicants from the UKTI, UKVA and UKBAA
- Applicants should be selected by industry experts
- Business proposals should be innovative
In January 2013 the government introduced the strict ‘Genuine Entrepreneur Test’ where applicants have to prove that they are able to start a business in the UK, present their business plans, undergo English language tests and attend interviews with the Home Office. These measures sought to reduce the number of entrepreneur visas granted and increase the quality of businesses being set up or taken over in the UK. The restrictions had their desired effects as the number of visas granted has dropped compared to before the test was introduced.
What remains unknown is if the suggestions from the MAC report will improve the quality of applicants or have a dramatic effect on the volume of applications made. Both investors and entrepreneurs have increasingly looked to other countries who offer similar business investment programs. The United States, the Caribbean and other European countries offer similar schemes through which applicants are able to receive ILR by creating a business.
Westkin Associates offer expert legal advice and can assist in visa applications and, through our extensive network, place would be applicants in contact with accountants, HR managers, recruitment agencies and all other services relating to creating a business in the UK. Contact us today on 0207 118 7868 or via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.