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Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Introduction

The entrepreneur category is designed to attract outstanding innovators and businessmen whose business proposals will result in economic benefit to the UK. Individuals who have substantial funds to invest in the UK and who genuinely wish to run a business may be granted entry clearance to enter the UK as an entrepreneur. Such individuals must be engaged full time in the running of their business but they cannot, however, engage in any other employment in the UK.

 

The Law

The requirements to be met by a person seeking leave to enter the UK to establish him/herself in business are:

  • that he/she has not less than £200,000 under his/her control and disposable in the UK and which he/she will be investing in the business in the UK (if the money is not held in an account in the applicant’s name, evidence is required to show that he/she can freely dispose of the funds); or
  • that he/she has not less than £50,000 from:

(i) one or more registered venture capitalist firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority;

(ii) one or more UK Entrepreneurial seed funding competitions which is listed as endorsed on the UK Trade & Investment website; or

(iii) one or more UK Government Departments, and made available by the Department(s) for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business; and

  • the money is held in one or more regulated financial institutions;
  • that he has a good command of the English language, i.e. CEFR level C1 in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening). This is equivalent to a score of 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); and
  • that until his business provides him with an income he will have sufficient additional funds to maintain and accommodate himself and any dependants without recourse to employment (other than his work for the business) or to public funds. This is done by means of demonstrating a minimum daily balance (over and above the £200,000 detailed above) which must have been held for 90 days.

The maintenance thresholds are £3,100 for a single applicant outside the UK, £900 for a single applicant within the UK. Each dependant on the application will increase these amounts by £1,800 or £600 if the main applicant has been in the UK for more than 12 months.

Two applicants can apply at the same time to be part of an entrepreneurial team, relying on one sum of £200,000.

A successful applicant will be expected to:

  • be actively involved full-time in trading or providing services on his own account or in partnership, or in the promotion and management of the company as a director;
  • create at least 2 full-time jobs for resident workers that last for at least 12 months each; and
  • bear his/her share of liabilities.

Applicants may make their investment by:

  • a direct cash investment;
  • share capital; or
  • a combination of the two, the proportion of which does not matter.

The following, however, are not acceptable:

  • a director’s loan, unless it is unsecured and in favour of third-party creditors;
  • an investment from or through an off-shore company, even where the investor is the sole beneficial owner of the off-shore company.

 

Documentation

The application must be supported by detailed evidence to establish both the viability of the business and the ability and financial means of the applicant. The following documents are an example of those likely to be required:

  • evidence of funds, e.g. a bank letter, bank statements, affidavit from 3rd party fund holders, etc; and
  • evidence of competence in the English language .

 

Procedure

For individuals seeking entry in this capacity, an application should be made to their nearest British overseas post.

Individuals in the UK in certain immigration categories can apply to change the basis of their stay in the UK to Tier 1 Entrepreneur.

Successful applicants will be granted permission to enter and/or remain in the UK for a period of 3 years. Before the expiry of this period, an applicant may apply for an extension for a maximum period of a further 2 years, provided that he/she continues to satisfy all the necessary requirements. After five years continuous stay in the UK in this category, an applicant can apply for indefinite leave to remain, (settlement).

There are accelerated routes to settlement for particularly successful businesses.

For further information on how we can assist you, please contact us on 0207 392 7672 or e-mail us at info@novellslegals.com.