On 19th November RVS Solicitors held a seminar aimed at showcasing how UK based businesses, start-ups and SME in particular, can use the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route to raise investment for their business, access new talent and new networks.
The event was fully booked and was carried out in an interactive way, a clear indication that this route has the full potential to truly contribute to the UK economy and achieve the aims it was created for. Unfortunately, there seems to be little government interest in promoting this route and very few UK businesses are aware of the benefits they can derive from the scheme.
In our seminar, we attempted to highlight how the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route can be used to create a win-win situation, where a foreign entrepreneur who wishes to enter the UK and establish a business, with the view of residing in the UK, can also be a valuable contributor to a UK based business.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) – An overview
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is designed for non-EEA nationals who wish to work in the UK either by setting up or investing in and being actively involved in the running of one or more businesses in the UK.
The aim of this route is to boost the economy by attracting overseas capital and skills. However, as exposed above, the route is not being sufficiently promoted and is failing to achieve its full potential.
During the seminar, we had a look at how UK businesses can use this route to benefit their own organisations. To understand this, an overview of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) requirements is needed.
Who can apply?
- Individuals who are outside of the EEA and Switzerland and wish to set up, join or take over a business in the UK.
- £200,000 in investment funds. The money needs to be:
- Their own
- Made available by other people (‘third parties’), such as a spouse, partner or investor
- Investment should be made in share or loan capital of a UK business. Incorporation is not essential;
- Investment can be made either by way of:
- Establishing a new business
- Taking over an existing business
- Joining an existing business
- Investment in all types of businesses accepted (with some exceptions):
- Investment in a property development business is not accepted
- Payments made to previous owners in order to take over the business are not accepted
- The Applicant must intend to be actively involved in the business:
- Register as a director for incorporated business
- Register as self-employed for business structures not requiring incorporation
- The Investment needs to lead to job creation:
- 2 full-time jobs for at least 12 months
- Jobs must be occupied by settled persons
From the above-mentioned requirements, the benefits for the UK business become apparent.
- The UK business will have access to at least £200,000 investment. It is worth noting that this is only the minimal amount and the businesses can ask for higher investment for entering the business. At RVS Solicitors, our immigration solicitors routinely deal with Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) matters, where the applicant is investing far more than the required £200,000. In a recent matter an investment of over £1 million was agreed with a UK business.
- Access to overseas skills. In most cases, people seeking access to the UK via the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route are businesspeople or are highly-skilled professionals seeking to start a business. Their entrepreneurial and business acumen is indispensable for any business. Oftentimes, they can offer a unique know-how of their local markets or the businesses they have been part of.
- Access to the network and industry contacts the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant has. Undoubtably, in business, one of the most coveted resources is the network. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) joining a UK business is able to contribute their own, often vast network to the development of the UK business. This becomes especially apparent, when the UK business is attempting to enter an overseas market with little knowledge about said market. A businessperson from the targeted market can prove to be an indispensable asset in such a scenario.
Therefore, as we can see, the UK businesses can benefit greatly form the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route. It is imperative that they understand the requirements, so that they are prepared and able to pitch their business to attract investments from interested potential Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicants.
Apart from the above requirements, one of the core aspects of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route is that the applicant must prove they are a genuine entrepreneur.
Genuine entrepreneur criteria
- The Applicant must demonstrate a background that is suitable for the proposed business.
- The Applicant must submit a business plan which should include details of their business idea, their qualifications, their previous business experience, the research they have undertaken in their chosen business sector, including an analysis of their competitors, and any marketing they have already done.
- The Home Office may interview Applicants to establish if they are a genuine entrepreneur.
- Applicants must be at least 16 years old
- They must meet the English language requirement.
- The Applicant must have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependants during their stay in the UK.
In order for the UK businesses to fully benefit from this route and avoid any future disputes, they must clearly understand what the requirements are for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicants and what the business needs to do to support the migrant’s immigration application.
It is also imperative that prior to entering into an arrangement with the foreign entrepreneur, both parties are very clear on the future relationship and what it entails.
Contact our Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa Experts in London
Contact us, if you are a UK based business seeking to use Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route to attract investment and overseas skills into your business. Our specialist immigration lawyers are able to advise on aspects of business immigration in full detail. Call us on 0203 372 5125 or contact us online.