UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant Scheme ( Now closed to new applicants since 28 March 2019)
1. Immigration Rules for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant Scheme
According to the Immigration Rules, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant Scheme aims at attracting genuine entrepreneurs to move to the UK to set up their own businesses or purchase existing businesses so as to boom the economy and create jobs in the UK.
The applicant is required to invest a sum of £200,000 by setting up his business or by purchasing an existing business in the UK and create 2 full time positions for citizens or permanent residents of the UK for at least 12 months. He can also invest the sum of £200,000 jointly with another applicant to form an entrepreneur team. In such a case, both applicants can meet the investment amount requirement of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Scheme at the same time.
During his visa period, the applicant must maintain the investments and is allowed to work ONLY for the business in which he has invested money. He cannot take any other employment. His dependants can work or engage in self-employment activities during their visa periods but they cannot work as trainee doctors or dentists or professional sportspersons or sports coaches in the UK. In addition, the applicant and his dependants are not entitled to the welfare of any government allowances in the UK during their visa periods.
After the application is approved, the applicant and his dependants can enter the UK with an initial Tier 1 (Entreprenuer) visa (“Leave to Enter”) for 3 years and 4 months. Subject to fulfillment of the required conditions of the Scheme, they can extend their visas (“Leave to Remain”) for another 2 years every time before their initial or extended visas expire thereafter.
After continuously living in the UK for 5 years, subject to fulfillment of the required conditions of the Scheme, the applicant and his dependants can apply for settlement in the UK. Absence from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 months will not be counted as continuously living in the UK. In addition, the applicant and his dependants should have passed “the Life in the UK” test and English language test when applying for settlement.
After settlement in the UK for at least one year, the applicant and his dependants can apply for British citizenship provided that they have spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during the 5 years before their applications for British citizenship.
The applicant is eligible for accelerated settlement upon completion of 3 years’ time, provided he can fulfil one of the following requirements:
- Creation of 10 full time positions for citizens or permanent residents of the UK for at least 12 months; or
- Generation of a turnover of at least £5 million over a 3 years period.
The requirements relating to naturalization applications have not been affected and even if the applicant has been granted settlement on completing three years’ residence, the applicant and his dependants would still be required to wait for another 2 years and comply with the residence and other requirements in order to apply for naturalization.
2. Advantages of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant Scheme
(1) The required amount of investment (£200,000) is comparatively low.
(2) Two applicants can form an entrepreneur team to share the minimum investment of £200,000.
(3) The applicant can move to the UK together with his dependants (spouse and unmarried children under 18 years old).
(4) The applicant and his dependants can apply for settlement in the UK through this route and apply for citizenship afterwards.
(5) The applicant and his dependants can enjoy the benefits of UK citizens and travel to more than 180 visa free countries when they have their UK passports.
3. Eligibility Requirements
The applicant must：
(1) be at least 16 years old;
(2) have funds of his own of not less than £200,000, under his control, held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the UK;
(3) have owned such funds for not less than 3 months before the date of his application; otherwise, the applicant has to provide evidence of the sources of the funds, such as gifts, deeds of sale, business income, will, divorce settlements and awards and so on;
(4) play an active role in the daily running of his business;
(5) create at least 2 full time positions for citizens or permanent residents of the UK and each job should last at least 12 months;
(6) be able to maintain and accommodate himself and his dependants adequately without recourse to public funds; and
(7) meet one of the following English standard requirements:
- being a national of one of the majority English speaking countries, i.e. USA, Australia, Canada, etc.;
- having a degree level qualification from an English speaking country;
- having passed an English language Test level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference(CEFR) required (IELS 4 Points).
4. Application Procedures
(1) Preparation of application documents;
(2) Opening of a bank account with a recognized financial institution in the UK;
(3) Going through medical examinations including tuberculosis test;
(4) Submission of application;
(5) Attending to a Visa Centre for collection of biometrics details (fingerprints and photographs);
(6) Approval of application and issuance of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa for a validity period of 3 years and 4 months;
(7) Entering the UK with the visa;
(8) Registering with the Police;
(9) Obtaining business registration within 6 months from the date arrival to the UK;
(10) Applying for extension of visa for another 2 years every time before the initial/extended visa expires;
(11) Applying for settlement in the UK after continuously living in the UK for 5 years; and
(12) Applying for naturalization as a British citizen 12 months after settlement in the UK.
It usually takes 2 to 4 months to obtain a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa which has a validity period of 3 years and 4 months and the applicant shall enter the UK within 3 months after obtaining the visa.
Note: This document is for reference only, all terms are subject to written contract.