Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visits by the Home Office Compliance Team
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa was introduced as a way to encourage entrepreneurs to start or join a business in the U.K. In order to achieve a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa applicants must demonstrate the following:
- That they are a genuine entrepreneur with a credible business plan and have relevant skills/experience to successfully establish or join a business.
- That they have access to at least £200,000* to invest their given business.
- That they meet the required level of English language (currently B1 of the CEFR).
- That they have sufficient funds to support themselves and that they do not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.
It is also possible to switch to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category from a Tier 1, 2 or 4 if an applicant is already in the U.K.
Length and conditions of stay in the UK
Applicants can apply to come to the UK for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months and those who already live in the U.K under Tier 1, 2 or 4 Visas may switch to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) for a period of 3 years.
Applicants may apply to extend their stay in the UK for a further 2 years providing they meet a number of strict requirements including the following:
- They must formally have registered as a director of a business or as a self-employed person within 6 months of either entering the UK or being granted permission to stay in the UK under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
- They have created at least two full time jobs and these have been in existence for two years.
- They have invested the required funds into their own business or a business in the U.K
- They are able to demonstrate that they continue to be a genuine entrepreneur.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
Once an applicant has held a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) status for 5 years or longer, they are eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
In order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain applicants must meet the following criteria:
- They must demonstrate they have spent a continuous period of 5 years* in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws.
- They have not been absent for a period longer than 180 days.
- They have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test.
*Applicants may qualify for accelerated Indefinite Leave to Remain after 3 years if they have created 10 new jobs or their business and received at least £5 million in income from business activity throughout the 3 years.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Interview by the Home Office Compliance Team
As part of the application process, the Home Office may require an applicant to attend an interview in which they will seek to learn more about the background of the business and offer assistance with an application.
For this interview, applicants must prepare well and answer every question. The questions will be specific to the applicant’s business plan and will depend on the circumstances of the business.
Interview Questions could include:
- Experience & Education
In order to give the best application an up to date C.V must be submitted, with correct and current information. The C.V must include any previous roles undertaken by the applicant that are deemed relevant to the application. An applicant must also demonstrate how the skills learnt through previous job experience have helped in the developing of the applicant’s business plan. The C.V may also include any soft skills or transferable skills as well as technical skills.
- Background to business
In this section, applicants may be required to give the context to their business including why the business is best suited to the U.K and why the U.K has been chosen by the applicant.
Some sample questions may include:
- ‘Why have you chosen the UK for your business? Did you consider other countries as alternatives?’
- ‘Why have you chosen to pursue this business in particular?’
- ‘What research have you done on your business idea?’
- ‘What have you done so far to set up the business? Is it registered?’
- ‘Do you have any professional advisers? What are their roles?’
- Business plan
Applicants will be required to know their business plan in detail and be able to give an accurate account of this in person. Applicants will be required to explain and defend this business choice and provide evidence to support all statements.
Some sample questions regarding business plans may include:
- Who authored this business plan?
- Do you have any partners or investors? What are their roles? What is their contribution?
- Will you be employing staff? What will their role(s) be? How much will you be paying them?
- Will you require business premises? Where will you be located? Will you lease or purchase premises?
- Do you have a marketing strategy?
- What are your financial projections, for years 1, 2, 3 etc.?
- What market research have you done?
- What competition is there in the market for your type of business?
- Immigration history
The Home Office will also require a detailed history of the applicant’s immigration history.
Some sample questions regarding immigration history may include:
- Have you ever lived in the U.K previously?
- Have you considered alternative entry routes to Tier 1, such as extending a current visa?
- What have you done since your last leave in the UK?
- Do you have any relatives in the UK?
- Will you want to secure eventual settlement in the UK?
How we can help
If you are currently waiting for a decision on your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa it is important for you to seek advice from a Solicitor or a legal adviser. A qualified Solicitor will be able to advise you on your financial investments and whether your documents are in order for your application.
Your application could be refused following a compliance visit from the HO even if they have provided the right documents at the date of application. We are experienced in preparing Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications to ensure a successful outcome and will provide expert guidance and assistance to you throughout the process.
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