UK Visas Update: Changes to Tier 1 Visa Categories

Last week, we reported that the Home Office had published the statement of changes to a number of UK visa routes. We focused on the changes to the Tier 1 Investor visa which will see the minimum investment threshold increase to £2 million from 6 November 2014. There are currently 4 categories that makes up Tier 1 of the Points-based system: Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur). 

Changes to the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Category

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category applies to those who are seen to have a promising future or are well established in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts. The applicant must be sponsored by a designated competent body. The following changes to this category are:

  • Applicants will be granted 5 years leave in the UK (previously 3 years); and
  • The English language requirement will not apply to those applying for an extension.

Changes are also being made to the criteria applied to the sponsor of the applicant. This includes the documentary requirements to show  “exceptional talent” and “exceptional promise”, in order for both standards to be assessed in a single application.

Changes to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Category

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category applies for business persons who would like to establish a business in the UK or join and invest into an existing business. The following changes to this category are:

  • Applicants submitting in-country have to show that they have funds intended to be invested in the business must be in the UK. This is to show that the funds are genuine;
  • Applicants who have already obtained a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa and wish to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain have to show they have invested their funds. This only applies to those who have not been required to this in their previous applications;
  • There will also be a number of technical clarifications in terms of documentation relating to funds being held in joint accounts, multiple bank accounts, or another business; and
  • There will also be clarifications made to the documentation required for applicants who already have a business established in the UK, to the job creation requirements for indefinite leave to remain, and to the definitions of “Venture Capital firms”, “new businesses” and “property development or property management”.

Changes to the Tier 1 (General) Category

The Tier 1 (General) category was closed in April 2011 but remains open for those currently on the visa to apply for extension until April 2015 and indefinite leave to remain applications until April 2018. The following change to this category is:

  • Applicants who obtained a Tier 1 (General) visa before the category was closed in 2011 can apply for an extension. The grant period is currently 3 years but could be adjusted to 5 years. The Home Office will assess this once the extension applications have been processed after April 2015.

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 Investor Visa applicationTier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application orTier 1 Exceptional Talent 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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