UK Home Office Business Visa Requirements: Tier 1 ‘Genuine Entrepreneur Test’

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category under the UK Points Based System is a route for business persons who would like to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, one or more businesses in the UK.  Since the Home Office made changes to the requirements for obtaining this visa which came into force on 31 January 2013 and the rules that came into force on 6 April 2015, Applicants are now required to satisfy a ‘genuineness test’ in addition to the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur test‘.  What these mean is that in order for an applicant to be granted a visa under this category, the applicant must demonstrate that they are a credible person with an intention to invest in a credible business in the UK.  

Home Office Genuine Entrepreneur Test

Under the current UK Immigration rules, in order to obtain a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, Applicants must satisfy the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur’ test.  a Home Office caseworker must assess whether an applicant satisfies some or all of the following;

  1. The applicant must show that he genuinely intends, and is able, to establish, take over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK within the next 6 months;
  2. the applicant genuinely has established, taken over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK and continues to operate that business or businesses;
  3. the money is genuinely available to the applicant and will remain available to them until such time as it is spent for the purposes of their business or businesses;
  4.  if the applicant is relying on one or more previous investments to score points, they have genuinely invested all or part of the investment funds required in table 4 of appendix A into one or more genuine businesses in the UK; and
  5. the applicant does not intend to take employment in the United Kingdom other than working in their business.

The Home Office requirements are strict to ensure that the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route is not open to abuse, whilst still allowing genuine business persons to remain in and come to the United Kingdom.

How the Home Office Assess that Applicant is a Genuine Entrepreneur

This is a strict test applied by the Home Office to assess, on a balance of probability, whether an applicant is a Genuine Entrepreneur. There are several steps that a Home Office caseworker undertakes in the assessment:

  1. Paper consideration
  2. Interview
  3. Decision

A Home Office caseworker will need to assesses the credibility of the application based on the evidence submitted and will assess these based on the following;

  • Viability and credibility of the sources of investment;
  • Appropriateness of business plan, intended operations,  and relevant market research conducted;
  • Genuineness of relevant business and education background; an
  • The Applicant’s immigration history and previous business or non-business related activities in the UK.

It is important that an Applicant is able to show that the investment funds are and will continue to be available to you after the grant of the visa.  As the test aims to impose a greater scrutiny on business investors and their intentions to make genuine investments, it will be vital to seek professional legal advice. Our experienced immigration solicitors will be able to assist and advise you on the stringent and specific requirements set out by the Homes Office and to guide you throughout the entire process. Ultimately, this can ensure that you receive a successful outcome with regards to your application.

If for any reason, the Home Office finds inconsistencies or has reasonable doubts as to whether the applicant is a genuine entrepreneur, they may invite the applicant for an interview.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Applicants may need to attend Home Office Interview

A Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicant must attend an interview unless there is a reasonable explanation as to why they cannot comply; failure to attend an interview may result in a refusal of the application. Before the interview,  an applicant may also be required to provide further evidence to assist the assessment. For instance, an extensive CV listing your previous experience and background, business contracts showing activities in trading, and other official documents issued by other government departments. At the interview, you will be asked questions based on evidence and documents that you have submitted. This can usually be treated as a method to verify the credibility and consistency of the evidence provided.

After the interview, if the Home Office is satisfied that on balance of probabilities that you are a genuine applicant, they Home Office caseworker is obliged to grant the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. Applicants should seek legal advice before submitting a Tier 1 Entrepreneur application to ensure they comply with all of the home Office Stringent requirements and their visa application is successful.

Successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Applications, Administrative Review & Appeals

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment of your case.

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