Switching options for Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) Migrant Visa

Changes to the Tier 1 Post Study Worker (PSW) Visa took place in April 2012 and the route was closed to new entrants.  The Tier 1 PSW visa category allowed the UK to retain the most able international (non-European) graduates who had previously studied in the UK.  The route was especially beneficial as it allowed applicants to look for work without needing to have a sponsor.

Investing in a UK business

The UKTI describe the UK as one of the leading business locations in the world and the number one destination for inward investment (FDI) in Europe. It has also long been one of the world’s most popular destinations for wealthy individuals and business owners to reside in and offers a unique mixture of outstanding social and political stability with a highly attractive taxation regime for those born overseas.

Applying for a PSW Dependant Visa

Although the route has been closed, dependants can still apply to join applicants who have obtained prior entry clearance as a Tier 1 migrant (Post Study Worker).  This has been recently discussed in the significant case of Zhang, R (on the application of) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 891 (Admin) which concerned the lack of provisions in the Immigration Rules to allow migrants in the Points-Based System to switch whilst in-country into a PBS dependent category.  The applicant was a Tier 2 migrant wishing to switch to become a Tier 1 (PSW) dependant. The applicant sought to judicially review the legality of the Immigration Rules requiring her to return to her country of origin to seek entry clearance as the dependant of a Tier 1 Post Study Worker.  The case has wider implications for those wishing to switch as Tier 1 Post Study Worker dependants.

Requirements for switching to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa

Tier 1 PSW migrants can switch into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route by making an initial application in the UK. An applicant must demonstrate that he/she has access to £50,000 which is held in one or more regulated financial institutions and the money is disposable in the UK. In addition, the applicant will need to meet the English language and maintenance requirements.

Individuals who are switching categories, will be granted leave for 3 years, thereafter a successful extension application will grant leave to remain for a further 2 years.

Changes from 31 January 2013 – Genuine Entrepreneur Test

On 31 January 2013, the Immigration Rules were amended to prevent abuse of the entrepreneur route.

Where the UK Border Agency may have concerns, they may ask the applicant to demonstrate that the funds he/she has used to apply remain available to beyond the date of the application. The funds must continue to be available to the applicant until they are spent by the business or businesses. ‘Available to the applicant’ means that the funds must be:

(1) in the applicant’s own possession; or

(2) in the financial accounts of a UK incorporated business of which the applicant is the director; or

(3) available from the third party or parties named in the applicant’s application (if applicable).

Although these more stringent tests may discourage potential entrepreneurs from coming to the UK or switching to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, Mark Harper, the UK Immigration Minister wishes to make it clear that the UK will welcome the brightest and best student coming to the UK’s world class universities.

Also note that in April 2013, more changes were introduced under the Graduate Entrepreneur route:

From April 2013, the Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route has been changed to include additional places for talented MBA graduates from UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This will also include the UK Trade and Investment’s elite global graduate entrepreneur scheme

Switching or initial visa applications – how we can help

We have a great deal of experience in assisting high net worth business clients making entry clearance, leave to remain applications or switching  applications under the points based system. We ensure our clients comply with the Immigration Rules and the strict requirements of the UKBA prior to making an application, thereby eliminating much of the stress of the application process.

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