Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas: is Britain open for business?

Businesses large and small are the backbone of our economies, and enterprise is the engine of our prosperity. That is why Britain is – and will always be – open for business: open to investment in our companies, infrastructure, universities and entrepreneurs.   –  Theresa May, Davos, January 2017 Entrepreneurs are used to taking risks. And in applying for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, they will certainly be taking one. While in the 3 years to December 2016 the UK issued entry clearance to 2,821 holders of entrepreneur visas, and granted in-country extensions of leave in 7,283 cases in the same category, the refusal rate for both applications has consistently…

17th May 2017 By Nick Nason

Upper Tribunal case on availability and intention to invest under Tier 1 Entrepreneur route

The official headnote: (i) The effect of the amendment of the regime in paragraph 41/SD of Appendix A to the Immigration Rules via HC628, dated 06 September 2013, is that any application for entry clearance or leave made before 01 October 2013 is to be decided in accordance with the Rules in force on 30 September 2013. (ii) Every applicant for Tier 1 Entrepreneurial status bears the onus of proving satisfaction of all of the material requirements of the Immigration Rules. (iii) The Rules stipulate that every Tier 1 Entrepreneurial applicant have available £50,000 to invest in the proposed business venture. “Available” in this context denotes that the applicant must…

15th July 2016 By Colin Yeo

Evidential flexibility policy is additional to the provisions of the Immigration Rules

In yet another case highlighting the absurdly hostile, bureaucratic and inflexible nature of the UK’s Points Based System the Court of Appeal has held that a Tier 1 Entrepreneur might benefit from a policy on evidential flexibility that was “much broader” than the rules themselves. The case is SH (Pakistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 426. The refusal arose because the claimant had to make his immigration application before his graduation certificate was issued; his leave was going to run out so an application had to be made. He needed the degree certificate to show that he met the English language requirement of the rules….

11th May 2016 By Colin Yeo

Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules HC535: analysis

Major changes to the Immigration Rules affecting refugees, Tiers 1, 2 and 5, EEA nationals sponsoring family members under the Immigration Rules, visitors, applications for Administrative Review and knowledge of language and life tests are being introduced with effect from tomorrow, 12 November 2015. The changes are wrought by Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules: HC535. Refugees New cessation policy? It seems that Home Secretary Theresa May’s recent speech to the Conservative Party Conference is to be enacted, at least in part. The Explanatory Notes tell us: The UK has a proud tradition of providing protection to those who need it, for as long as it is needed, in…

11th November 2015 By Colin Yeo

New report suggests Tier 1 Investor route used for large scale money laundering

A new report by Transparency International, Gold rush: Investment visas and corrupt capital flows into the UK, suggests that substantial amounts of corrupt wealth stolen from China and Russia are “highly likely” to have been laundered into the UK through the UK’s Tier 1 Investor “golden visa” programme. The report singles out £1.88bn of Chinese and Russian private investment, which has apparently been channelled into the UK. This amounts to 60% of the £3.15bn of total investment flows into the UK since the scheme began in 2008. These figures were calculated using the minimum investment amount for Tier 1 Investor visas, so the real sums are likely to be substantially higher.

22nd October 2015 By Colin Yeo

Consultation on Tier 1 Entrepreneur route

The Migration Advisory Committee has been asked to look at the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route again and are holding a consultation which closes on 12 June 2015. Details here. The issues to be examined are: the initial eligibility criteria of access to funds is sufficient and whether other criteria, for example, assessment of previous entrepreneurial activity and/or testing the purpose of the investment, should be applied the existing eligibility and extension criteria are aligned sufficiently with entrepreneurial and early stage business life-cycles, including consideration of the role angel investors and crowd-funding the route utilises international best practice. As part of this, the MAC is requested to consider route design and incentives…

25th March 2015 By Colin Yeo

High Court finds Tier 1 Entrepreneur landline requirement irrational

The High Court has found part of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur rules to be irrational in the case of R (on the application of Sabir & Ors) & Anor v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWHC 264 (Admin). Despite succeeding on part of the challenge, though, the case ultimately failed because there were other parts of the rules that the claimant has also been refused under and which the claimant failed to convince the judge were unlawful. The case is instructive for non specialists on the arcane and bizarre bureaucratic requirements that entrepreneurs are required to establish in order to obtain a visa. Designed by civil servants who…

23rd March 2015 By Colin Yeo

Genuineness test for entrepreneurs and new evidence on appeal

The case of Ahmed and Another (PBS: admissible evidence) [2014] UKUT 365 (IAC) concerns the ‘genuineness’ test that was introduced for entrepreneur applications as the final death knell for the original concept of the Points Based System as a tool for objective decision making. On appeal, the tribunal holds that s.85A of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 prevents a judge from considering evidence that was not submitted with the original application to the Home Office because the genuineness test relates to the award of points under the Points Based System. This conclusion is itself questionable as the Home Office itself seems to consider that the genuineness part of the rules is ‘non…

12th August 2014 By Colin Yeo

Shebl (Entrepreneur: proof of contracts) [2014] UKUT 216 (IAC)

Official headnote: The requirement to prove the existence of “contracts” in paragraph 41-SD of Appendix A to the immigration rules does not itself require the contracts in question to be contained in documents. There is, however, a need for such contracts to be evidenced in documentary form. The Home Office attempted to argue that contracts have to be set out in a single document. The tribunal disagree, pointing out that many other forms of contract are legally effective. Nevertheless, the tribunal accepts that some sort of written evidence of contacts is required but that it might be spread out over several documents. Contracts are not required for all types of…

16th May 2014 By Colin Yeo

All change

A plethora of immigration tweaks were announced yesterday, mainly of a technical nature. There is still no sign of the introduction of a minimum income level nor the ending of Tier 2 settlement applications. It is beginning to seem likely that these will be announced at short notice, probably to avoid encouraging applications under the existing rules. Consider yourselves warned. Changes yesterday included: New Tier 1 forms and guidance. New facility for in country online applications for Tiers 2 and 5. Increase in the amounts required for maintenance for all Tiers and their dependents. Replacement of Tier 1 (Post Study Work) with a new scheme. The key requirements will be…

14th February 2012 By Free Movement

English language requirements tightening

In parallel announcements the UK Border Agency has said that language requirements for Tiers 1, 2 and 4 of the Points Based System (highly skilled, skilled and students) are being tightened up slightly. The concession that allowed Tier 1 and 2 applicants to make an in-country immigration application before sitting the language test is being withdrawn. This was introduced so that applicants already in the UK were not caught out by the change to the rules, but is being withdrawn because the requirement is now more common knowledge and tests are easier to arrange now that supply from test providers has caught up with demand. Applicants for extensions under Tiers…

1st February 2012 By Free Movement

Exceptional Talent route finally opens

The Exceptional Talent route attracted a lot of attention and comment when it was announced way back in November 2010. Questions were starting to be asked about what had happened to it and whether arts and science organisations were really willing to be the determinants of who is a suitably good artist or scientist to be awarded a Willy Wonka style Golden Ticket to the UK. It isn’t hard to imagine the potential for politics and in-fighting. Confounding the doubters, the UK Border Agency yesterday revealed that the route will open on 9 August 2011 and negotiations with the Royal Society, Arts Council England, Royal Academy of Engineering and British Academy are complete. The allocation…

21st July 2011 By Free Movement