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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Accelerated Settlement

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By Kasia Janucik, of OTS Solicitors

Achieving accelerated settlement in the UK is a primary business objective for many Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applicants. Whether you are investing your £50,000 or £200,000 in an existing business or launching a start-up, an experienced Immigration lawyer can provide you with the best strategy for ensuring you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as soon as possible.

The eligibility requirements for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

To obtain entry into the UK on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you need to:

  • Be over 16 years
  • Have access to £50,000 or £200,000 in investment funds (rules vary for each level of capital)
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Fully support yourself whilst you are in the UK. If outside the UK seeking entry clearance, you will require least £3,310 of personal savings held for 90 consecutive days prior to application submission (this must be in addition to the investment funds mentioned above). Applicants currently in the UK must provide evidence of £945, held for 90 consecutive days prior to application.
  • Pass the Genuine entrepreneur Test (requires that a business plan be presented, and you may be asked to attend an interview)

If you are granted a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you will be allowed to remain in the UK for three years and four months.

Accelerated Settlement for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

There is a provision in the Immigration Rules for a person to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after three years, where the business(es) which they have established, joined or taken over has:

  • Led to the creation of ten new employed positions (or equivalent) for settled persons, which have existed for 12 months over the period of time the person has spent as a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) migrant, or
  • had an income, or increase in income for an existing business, of at least £5 million during the 3-year period that the person has spent as a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) migrant

If you are not eligible for accelerated ILR, you can apply for an extension of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.

Extending your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

An extension of a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is not automatically granted. Certain conditions must be met. Again, you will be subject to a Genuine entrepreneur Test where you must show:

  • you have established, taken over or become a director of one or more genuine businesses in the UK, and have actually operated that business;
  • you have genuinely invested the required £50,000 or £200,000 into that business;
  • you intend to continue operating one or more businesses in the UK; and
  • do not intend to take Employment other than working in the business invested in or established

To prove the above, you will need to access to your company’s accounts, a Companies House document showing the address of the company, confirmation you have a UK bank account and are registered for Corporation Tax. The evidence required for extending a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is extensive; it is imperative that you instruct an experienced Immigration solicitor who will work with you to ensure the best examples of evidentiary material are presented to the Home Office on application.

For an extension to be granted on your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, you will also need to show that your start-up has created two full-time jobs (30 hours per week) for settled UK persons. These positions must have existed for a minimum of 12 months. A single job need not consist of 12 consecutive months (for example it could exist for six months in one year and six months the following year) providing it is the same job. The jobs need not exist at the date of application, provided they have existed for 12 months.

ILR and Accelerated Settlement

Generally, a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holder will be eligible to apply for ILR after five years. However, there are many conditions to be met.

These include:

  • within 3 months of the date of application, they have been registered with HMRC as self-employed or registered with Companies House as a director of a new or existing company
  • their business(es) created the equivalent of at least two new full-time jobs for settled persons for at least 12 months each (this is not in addition to the two jobs created when the extension was applied for, however, two full-time jobs need to exist when applying for ILR)
  • they have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in 'any 12 calendar months during the period.'
  • they meet the knowledge of language and pass the Life in the UK test
  • they demonstrate again that they are genuine entrepreneurs, subject to the same tests as set out at the extension stage

Home Office refusals and Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas

The refusal rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas is high, mainly down to four factors:

  1. The applicant fails to provide a clear, concise business plan, designed to persuade Immigration officials that they can meet the requirements of an Entrepreneur Visa
  2. A distinction is not made between investment funds and maintenance funds. These must be separate
  3. The applicant has an inconsistent Immigration history
  4. There is not enough proof showing that the source of the investment funds are credible

By investing in an experienced Immigration lawyer to prepare your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application, you will give yourself the best chance of it succeeding. Your solicitor understands what the Home Office is looking for in the Genuine entrepreneur Test and will ensure you present the necessary documents to assure them of your funds, abilities, and commitment.

If your application for ILR is refused, an experienced Immigration lawyer can launch an appeal or apply for judicial review of the decision, whichever is likely to achieve the best result.

In summary

Achieving entry clearance, extension, and settlement through the Tier 1 entrepreneur route is a straightforward process if you have expert advice to ensure you avoid common pitfalls. By working with an Immigration solicitor, you can strategise business growth to enable you to achieve settlement in your desired timeframe.

OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected business immigration law firms in London. By making an appointment with one of our Immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today. Our business immigration solicitors, have extensive experience in assisting entrepreneurs applying for entry clearance, accelerated settlement or extensions.

If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0203 959 9123.


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