UK Immigration: Changes to Tier 1 Visa Route April 2015

This week, the Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules were published by the Home Office. A number of changes to visa routes for individuals such as visitors, asylum seekers and individuals who want to come to the UK for work/business under the Points-based System will have a new set of immigration requirements to follow. Below we will focus on the changes to the Tier 1 visa route under the Points-based System, which will be implemented on 6 April 2015.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Route

This is the Home Office’s visa route for exceptionally talented migrants in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts, who wish to work in the UK. These individuals are those who are already internationally recognised at the highest level as world leaders in their particular field or who have already demonstrated exceptional promise in the fields of science, humanities and engineering and are likely to become world leaders in their particular area.

  • Under the UK Immigration Rules individuals are able to decide the duration of their stay in the UK (maximum is 5 years or 5 years & 4 months for entry clearance applications). Furthermore, individuals who choose to  stay in the UK for a shorter period of time will not need to pay the ‘maximum leave period surcharge payment’.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

The Tier 1 UK Entrepreneur Visa category is for business persons who would like to establish a business in the UK or join and invest into an existing business. The following number of changes are being made to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route:

  • Individuals who are relying on business funding from a UK or Devolved Government Department are told that its has to be clear that financial support by an intermediary public body may be accepted, if the body ‘confirms that the funds were made available by a UK or Devolved Government Department for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.’
  • Individuals under this route are now required to take a ‘genuineness’ test, if they are applying for an extension or Indefinite Leave to Remain.
  • There will be restrictions for individuals who want to switch from Tier 1 (General) to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). These restrictions will not apply to individuals who have established a UK business before 6 April 2015 or ‘have funding from a government department or endorsed seed funding competition’.
  • Rules in relation to how investment funds are to be spent and the appropriate engagements in businesses, in particular with ‘with property development or property management’ are being clarified.
  • Individuals who hold and are relying on their own funds, are required to ‘provide evidence of the third party source of those funds, if they have held the funds for less than 90 days before making an initial application.’
  • First time applicants must provide a business plan with their application.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route allows graduates to extend their stay in the UK, after graduation, to enable them to set up a business in the UK. The government have placed a limit on the number of Graduate Entrepreneur Visa applications which is currently capped at 1,000 per year and equally divided amongst participating institutions. You can only apply for this visa if you are currently in the UK.

  • Individuals cannot engage in businesses principally concerned with property development or property management.

Tier 1 (Investor)

The Tier 1 Investor Visa category of the Points Based System is for open to those migrants who wish to make a substantial financial investment in the UK. This route is attractive due to the fact that individuals do not need to show evidence of maintenance nor demonstrate that they meet the English language requirements. This route demonstrates the UK government’s desire to attract high net worth individuals to make substantial investments in the UK.

  • Individuals are required to ‘open a UK-regulated investment account’, before making their application.
  • The age requirement is being increased from 16 years old to 18 years old.
  • Applicants will no longer need to invest additional capital if they sell part of their investments at a loss, but they will be required to maintain all their capital within their investment portfolios.

Successful Tier 1 Visa Applications

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 1 application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law.

We also undertake a great deal of appeal work before the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and have a successful track record of successful results for our clients. We have the experience and the knowledge required to take your case forward successfully. If you have had a entrepreneur visa refused, contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment.

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