This week the UK Government introduced changes to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category of the Points Based System.
The changes came into force on the 31st January 2013 and it is important to note that if your application was not decided before the 31st January, or you have submitted an application on or after this date, your case will be considered under the new rules.
When announcing the changes the UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper stated:
“…it is clear that, following our tightening of other migration routes, the Entrepreneur route is now being targeted by applicants seeking to abuse the immigration rules. There is strong evidence that funds to prove eligibility are being re-cycled amongst different applicants and that artificial businesses are being created.
We need to tighten the current rules to allow for a meaningful assessment of the credibility of an applicant for this route.”
The changes can be summarised as follows:
- A “genuine entrepreneur” test will be introduced to give UKBA caseworkers the ability to test the credibility of “suspicious applicants.” Factors which may be taken into account when assessing whether applicants pass the test include the viability and credibility of the applicant”s business plans and market research and their previous educational and business experience
- A change to require the necessary minimum funds to be held, or invested in the business, on an ongoing basis rather than solely at the time of the application. Applicants may need to provide additional evidence to prove that they continue to have access to the requisite funds ahead of them being invested in a UK business.
The full Statement of Changes can be viewed here.
We would advise all potential Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa applicants to review the rule changes before submitting any application and to take specialist advice where necessary.