With the cancellation of Tier 1 Post-Study Work visa (PSW work visa), the possibilities for graduates who wish to remain in the UK after their studies have decreased. If you are faced with one of the following:
(i) you do not manage to obtain a sponsorship from an employer;
(ii) the relevant position or salary does not match your expectation;
(iii) you are unable to obtain sponsorship funds from the relevant government agencies or universities;
then, the £200,000 Entrepreneur visa may provide you a means to remain and settle in the UK.
The £200,000 Entrepreneur visa (officially named the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa) is applicable for those who wish to conduct business, or want to make a business investment in the UK. If you presently hold a Tier 1 PSW visa, you can consider a £50,000 category, however, please note that this type of Tier 1 PSW was closed to new applications on 5 April 2012. If you have other types of visas, such as a student visa or a work visa, you may consider the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. If you are unsure about which visa to apply for, our UK immigration solicitors will be able to help.
Generally, if you are applying for the first time, you will need to have £200,000 in your bank account, a business plan, a certain amount of living expenses, and satisfy the English-language requirement.
Genuine Entrepreneur Test
The business plan is subject to the “Genuine Entrepreneur Test”. From 6 April 2015, the Home Office introduced this test to ensure that you genuinely intend to operate your business in the UK. Applicants will be subject to the “Genuine Entrepreneur Test” at both the initial application stage and the extension stage. Essentially, the immigration case officer, if in doubt, can request an appointment with you to discuss your business plan in detail. They may ask you questions in relation to the present allocation of your £200,000, the present operation of your business, your job creation, or information about the staff that your company employed over the last few years.
Effectively, this test also provides the Home Office with an opportunity to refuse an application which ostensibly appears to meet all the requirements of the UK immigration rules, but fails to perform well at interview. From the Home Office statistics, our UK immigration solicitors note that many applicants fail to renew their Tier 1 visa as they are unable to satisfy the Genuine Entrepreneur Test. Our UK immigration solicitors will be able to provide you with some interview questions to ensure that you satisfy the Genuine Entrepreneur Test and are well equipped for your appointment with the Home Office.
According to the Home Office’s explanatory memorandum, this Genuine Entrepreneur Test is introduced to ‘better protect the route (Tier 1 visa) against abuse without disadvantaging genuine applicants’.
In practice, the subjective nature of the test causes some concern given that the immigration officers may not have the expertise to understand the operation of some comparatively niche industries, such as the Oil & Gas industry and the Fintech industry. On the other hand, in the event of an application refusal, applicant will no longer be able to appeal against a decision at an impartial court tribunal, but have to go through the long and daunting Administrative Review procedure through the Home Office’s own internal mechanism.
Therefore, any application under the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa should be properly prepared by a UK immigration solicitor. We must emphasise the importance of a detailed and carefully-prepared business plan. At Taylor Hampton, our UK immigration solicitors will assist you in all stages in order to satisfy the Genuine Entrepreneur Test.
Written by Loretta Pang