UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa: the UKBA’s ‘Genuine Entrepreneur Test’

Following a change to the Immigration Rules which came into force on 31 January 2013, if you are an individual seeking to enter or remain in the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) must be satisfied that you genuinely intend and are able to establish, take over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK within the next six months. 

The UKBA’s Tier 1 Genuine Entrepreneur Test

The ‘Genuine Entrepreneur Test’ is in place to ensure that those applying for this particular category are genuine investors who have genuine business interests in the UK and intend to make genuine investments, be it £50,000 or £200,000. The new rules mean that there is a greater scrutiny being applied to Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications and it is vital that you seek professional legal advice  to ensure you receive a successful result.

The UKBA have stated in their guidance notes that where they have concerns about the genuineness of an entrepreneur and the investment they may ask for further information. In assessing whether you are a genuine entrepreneur, the UKBA may take into consideration the following:

  • the evidence that you have submitted;
  • the viability and credibility of the source of money;
  • the viability and credibility of your business plans and market research into your chosen business sector;
  • your previous academic and business experience; and
  • your immigration history and previous activity in the UK.

Genuine Entrepreneurs: Previous Education & Experience

In order to establish whether you are a genuine entrepreneur for the purposes of the visa, the UKBA will require a comprehensive CV which sets out any relevant academic or vocational qualifications as well as any work experience which is relevant to your chosen business sector. It is also important to show that you have previous experience of setting up or running a business as you will be expected to show that you can do the same in the UK in order to pass the UKBA’s  ‘Genuine Entrepreneur Test’.

Genuine Entrepreneur Test: Credible Funds being Invested?

The UKBA have also stated that they may ask applicants to demonstrate that the funds that have used remain available to the Applicant beyond the date of the application. The Applicant may be requested to demonstrate that the funds are either in the Applicant’s possession or have been accounted for in the business/investment or in the event the Applicant is obtaining third party funding be available from the third party named in the application.

 The UKBA have gone further to state that they may curtail the Applicant’s leave if the funds that the Applicant has relied on as part of their applicant cease to be available to them.

What is the effect of the Genuine Entrepreneur Test?

Immigration Minister, Mark Harper stated that the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route was being targeted by applicants seeking to abuse the system and has stated that “we need to tighten the rules to allow for a meaningful assessment of the credibility of an applicant for this route.”

The genuine entrepreneur test has caused a lot of distress to genuine investors as to how much and the kind of information they need to provide to demonstrate their credibility as a genuine investor. In addition it has been suggested that the genuine entrepreneur test has made the prospect of investment in the UK unattractive and therefore defeated one of the main purposes of this category, which was to assist in boosting the UK economy.

Successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur 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 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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