UK Immigration: ‘Strict’ UK Visa Rules Deterring Tier 1 Entrepreneurs

This morning, our immigration team attended an event organised by Migreat, an organisation who aim to make labour force migration easier, at which they revealed a report on whether the UK immigration system was open to innovation and promising entrepreneurs. The report reveals that Home Office’s statistics show that one out of every two applications for entrepreneur visas were refused, with nearly three out of four entrepreneurs failing to extend their visa in the first three quarters of 2013. Migreat’s report also considers how the government’s tightened immigration rules have forced many talented entrepreneurs to pursue “more achievable” options like setting up their business at home or in other countries.

Entrepreneur Report: 50% of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Applications Refused

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route was introduced in 2008 with the purpose of promoting the UK as a hub for the world’s most talented and brightest entrepreneurs. Statistics show that since the route was launched, demand for this visa has grown from 40 applications in 2008 to 1,321 at the end of 2013. However, it seems that as application rates have risen, so have the rejection rates: more than 50% of people were rejected last year, with 1,514 entrepreneurs turned away.

Speaking on the report, Business Secretary Vince Cable told HuffPostUK:

“This is a timely report in light of the recent controversy over migrant entrepreneurs as UK job creators. It’s important that we get this route right to ensure that the next migrant business success stories, like Caffe Nero or, don’t slip through the UK’s fingers. We must send a clear signal that we are open to business.”

Summary of Challenges Faced by Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Applicants

After speaking to over 60 “world-class” entrepreneurs about their experiences with the UK visa system, Migreat found that the UK’s immigration policy “appears complex and strict”.

Migreat highlighted four consistent challenges in the obtaining of the Entrepreneur visa that could be alleviated easily, and at low cost, with the following improvements:

  • Returning passports more expediently to avoid the risk of applicants missing business opportunities;
  • Increasingly flexibility in the format of documents from Venture Capitalists and banks to reduce red tape;
  • Tailoring rules on timing of the funding process to match the reality of young entrepreneurs and pre-revenue startups; and
  • Involving third parties, such as private and institutional investors, in the genuine entrepreneurs test that is currently processed by caseworkers unfamiliar with entrepreneurial ventures.

Successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Applications & 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.

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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