Tier 1 entrepreneur visa renewal prompts investment fears
April 6th marked the inception of new rules concerning the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. The most eye-catching of these changes took the form of a so-called ‘genuine entrepreneur’ test, which is designed to confirm that applicants are engaged in the sort of commercial activity that fits within the Home Office’s definition of ‘entrepreneurship’. The new requirement also applies to Tier 1 entrepreneur Extension applications.
Concerns have been raised that the new regime may be a disadvantage for those applicants who do not perform well in interview with the Immigration Officers charged with determining their business credentials. Given the highly bureaucratic mind-set of such officers, applicants – and those applying for a visa extension – are now under pressure to document every aspect of their business plan and/or their existing business in the UK. Applicants for an extension must show they have created employment for at least two workers.
A further pressure is exerted in as much as applicants will have no direct right of appeal against any decision against them. Their only recours
Home Office minister James Brokenshire MP has claimed that the new rules have made a significant contribution to driving down the number of migrant applications to the UK. He has been quoted as saying: “Our reforms have cut net non-EU migration to levels not seen since the 1990s and slashed overall net migration by a third." The apparent contradiction between attracting dynamic and business-minded people to the UK and limiting migrant numbers is routinely ignored in Mr Brokenshire’s rhetoric.
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa requires applicants to commit a minimum of £200,000 to a new venture in the UK, although in certain circumstances that threshold may be reduced to £50,000. For anyone seeking an extension to their Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa that means that if their record-keeping fails to impress Immigration Officers they stand to lose a considerable sum of money along with their residency rights. The period of an initial Tier 1 entrepreneur visa is three years and four months.
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