UK: WORK & BUSINESS VISAS
Point base (Tier1)Entrepreneur Visa application-
Entrepreneurs who want to set up, take over or be actively involved in a business in the UK can apply for this type of visa. Entrepreneurs are classified under Tier 1 of the Points Based System (High Value Migrants).
An individual can be involved in any number of businesses and no sponsor is needed.
For initial applications, you must:
1. Have money available to invest in the existing or new UK business;
2. Be competent in English language;
3. Have money to support yourself and your family in the UK (maintenance)
For successful applications you will be granted a visa for at least three years. A two year extension can be provided in the UK (should you qualify) followed by indefinite leave to remain (permanent residency). Indefinite leave to remain is normally granted after spending 5 continuous years in this category although some applicants could qualify after 3 continuous years.
1. Money to invest in existing or new UK business:
You should have access to at least the equivalent of £200,000 to invest in a new/existing UK business or more than £50,000 from:
- One or more venture capital firm registered with the Financial Services Authority (please contact us in this case – transitional arrangements in place).
- One or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition listed as endorsed on UK Trade and Investment’s website
- One or more UK government departments, which must have made the funds available for the sole purpose of establishing/expanding a UK business
You can also be eligible to invest just £50,000 (or the equivalent in your own currency) in the existing or new UK business should you already be in the UK on Tier 1 (Post Study Work) status and the core services your business are to provide are at NVQ Level 4 or above.
The funds can be provided to you by a third party. There is no requirement to show that the money has been in your own account for a certain amount of time.
Entrepreneurial Teams (Maximum of two Business Partners):
Two individual applicants are able to claim points for the same investment/business activity if they have formed an entrepreneurial team. In such circumstances, both the applicants must have equal control over the investment funds and/or business formed.
2. Be competent in English language;
you should either:
– Be a citizen of an English speaking country
– Have a degree level qualification that was taught in English language
– Have taken an accepted English language test to level CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
3. Have money to support yourself and your family in the UK (Maintenance requirement):
In order to qualify for entry clearance under Tier 1, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself (and any dependants). The maintenance requirement is detailed below:
- If you are outside the UK seeking a visa you must have at least £3,310 of personal savings which you must have held for a consecutive 90 day period before the date of your application. For each dependant you must have an additional £1890 (dependant funds can be held on the dependant’s name);
If you are in the UK seeking further leave to remain you must have at least £945 of personal savings which must have held for a consecutive 90 day period prior to the date of your application. You must also have at least £1800 for each dependant unless you have been present in the UK for at least 12 months in which case the amount drops to £600 for each dependant).
You may not use any money which is included in your £200,000 investment as evidence of maintenance funds.
Other important considerations:
The Home Office can request you to provide additional information, for example business plans and evidence of market research, to confirm the genuineness of your application; and demonstrate that you continue to have access to the funds ahead of them being invested in a UK business.
- Your visa can be extended for a further two years if the following requirements are met:
- You have registered as self-employed or as a Director of a new / existing UK based business with HMRC (UK tax department);
- You must be actively involved with the business at the time of the extension application;
- The required money (£200,000 or £50,000 has been invested (used within) in a UK business; and
- The equivalent of two full-time jobs for settled workers must have been created within the company during your first three years. This can be a mixture of full and part time workers. The equivalent of two full time jobs must have been for at least 12 months. Full time means at least 30 hours per week.
Indefinite Leave to Remain:
If the business has created ten or more new jobs in the UK or can show an income of at least £5 million during a period of three years while the applicant has been in the UK under a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, the applicant may apply for indefinite leave to remain after three years. Otherwise, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants must spend five years in the country before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain. Twelve months after being granted indefinite leave to remain, they are able to apply for UK nationality.
You must also:
1. Pass a Life in the UK test
2. Pass an English language test (from October 2013) if necessary
3. Not have any unspent criminal or civil convictions and
4. Not have been absent for more than 180 days for each 12 month period you are in the UK
The family members of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants can submit an application to join their spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner, or parent (if the applicant is under the age of 18 at the time of application) in the UK. They may also apply for settlement at the same time as the Tier 1 migrant applicant. Family members are able to work in the UK.
Please contact us for further information.
Tier 1 Investors-
This long term category is aimed at well established, wealthy individuals who are prepared to make substantial investment in the UK. Due to the relatively few eligibility requirements for the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, there is no doubt that it remains the most attractive option for high net worth people who are looking to migrate to the UK. As of 6th November 2014, rule changes made to this category of the Points Based System will be implemented. It is crucial for individuals to become aware of what will be required of them throughout their time in the UK.
Tier 1 (Investor) visa and residence permit applications made before 6th November 2014:
Those who have already made an initial application prior to, or are extending their stay under the rules in place before 6th November 2014, will be subject to the following:
- The applicant must be able to prove using documentation as evidence that they have access to £1,000,000 (disposable and in a financial institution), or £2,000,000 (in personal assets) and £1,000,000 (loan)
- A proportion of this investment (25%) can be invested into property
- This is not strictly a working category but the investor can undertake employment if desired. However, they may not become a doctor in training
- There is no requirement for the investor to have proficiency in English language with the first application or any extension. However, there will be an English language requirement for indefinite leave to remain applications
- There is no maintenance requirement (the need to show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family in the UK).
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
Qualification for ILR will vary depending on how much has been originally invested. In all the below cases, the investor should have spent no more than 180 days per year outside the UK:
- After 5 years if the individual has money of their own, under their control in the UK amounting to at least £1 million; or owns personal assets which, taking into account any liabilities to which they are subject, have a value of not less than £2 million; and has money under their control and disposable in the UK amounting to not less than £1 million which has been loaned by a UK regulated financial institution.
- After 3 years if the individual has money of their own, under their control in the UK amounting to at least £5 million; or owns personal assets which, taking into account any liabilities to which they are subject, have a value of not less than £10 million; and has money under their control and disposable in the UK amounting to not less than £5 million which has been loaned by a UK regulated financial institution.
- After just 2 years if the investor has money of their own, under their control in the UK amounting to at least £10 million; or owns personal assets which, taking into account any liabilities to which they are subject, have a value of not less than £20 million; and has money under their control and disposable in the UK amounting to not less than £10 million which has been loaned by a UK regulated financial institution.
Tier 1 (Investor) visa and residence permit applications made on or after 6th November 2014:
Those who apply under the rules in place on or after 6th November 2014 will be subject to the following:
- The current £1 million minimum investment figure is being doubled to £2,000,000
- The full amount must be invested in UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies; previously only 75% was necessary and the individual was left with 25% to invest in other permissible UK assets
- The investment sum can no longer be sourced as a loan from a UK financial institution
- Legislation up until 6th November dictates that the individual must ‘top up’ their initial investment if it falls beneath the minimum threshold of £1,000,000. This will be removed from the new set of rules.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
Again qualification for ILR will vary depending on how much has been originally invested. As is the case for those applying before 6th November 2014, the investor should have spent no more than 180 days per year outside the UK:
- After 5 years if the applicant has invested money of his own under his control amounting to at least £2 million
- After 3 years if the applicant has invested money of his own under his control amounting to at least £5 million
- After 2 years if the applicant has invested money of his own under his control amounting to at least £10 million
Money must be investment in the UK by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies, subject to the restrictions.
The family members of Tier 1 (Investor) migrants can submit an application to join their spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner, or parent (if the applicant is under the age of 18 at the time of application) in the UK. They may also apply for settlement at the same time as the Tier 1 migrant applicant. Family members are able to work in the UK.
Should you require any further information, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Tier 1(Exceptional talent visa):
You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you’ve been endorsed in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts as:
- a recognised leader (exceptional talent)
- an emerging leader (exceptional promise)
You must also be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
There’s a 2-stage application process to get this visa.
You first need to apply to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field.
Then, once you have been endorsed, you can apply for the visa.
There are limited places available under this visa category, with 500 places released on both 6 April and 1 October each year.
How long it will take:
After you get your endorsement, you can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.
You must pay a separate fee for the 2 stages of this process:
stage 1 - endorsement (£281)
stage 2 - visa application (see table below)
You also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application
How long you can stay:
You can stay in the UK for up to:
- 5 years and 4 months if you apply outside the UK
- 5 years if you apply inside the UK
You can apply to extend this visa for another 5 years.
You can apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 5 years.
What you can and can’t do
- work - for an employer, as a director of a company or be self-employed
- change jobs without telling the Home Office
- do voluntary work
- travel abroad and return to the UK
- bring family members with you
- get public funds
- work as a doctor or dentist in training work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach