MAC Advice on Tier 1 Entrepreneur Scheme Gives Home Office Food for Thought
The government is yet to respond to the Migration Advisory Committee’s advisory reports into the current Tier 1 entrepreneur visa scheme. The report, which was released on October 29th, delivered a mixed picture of the scheme’s operation. Whilst it was held to be largely working well – and very better than the Tier 1 investment scheme which MAC Chairman Sir David Metcalf had previously described as ‘not fit for purpose’, the report pointed to serious weaknesses in the way the current scheme is set up and operated.
The report noted that the scheme was well suited to the government’s aim of attracting innovative entrepreneurs to the UK but that it also showed a disproportionate number of applications that were what the report described as ‘low quality projects’. The MAC offered a series of practical suggestions whereby the Tier 1 entrepreneur scheme could be improved.
A more selective assessment procedure was called for in order to raise the quality of applications that are processed through the Tier 1 entrepreneur scheme along with a suggested bespoke pathway for start-up businesses. In order to bring that about the MAC suggested that qualified and experienced business experts/practitioners should be involved in the process of evaluating applications since these people would be more likely to be able to make informed and practically-grounded judgments of a venture’s likely success or viability.
Early endorsement by third parties such as the UK Business Angels Association was suggested as one method to not only prove applications but also steer them on a path to success. A targeted approach to especially innovative business plans was also identified as a key area for attention.
The Tier 1 entrepreneur visa is open to applications from non EEA residents who have £200,000 to invest in a UK business or business start-up, although this figure may be reduced to £50,000 in certain circumstances.
The question for the Home Office is how to act on the MAC’s advice. To date they are yet to comment on that.
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