Genuine Test Requirements for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Applications
In 2015, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) released a report into the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. It highlighted concerns about the quality of migrants entering the country via the entrepreneur route. Researchers were especially concerned about applicants who were establishing businesses with a poor opportunity for growth and/or had little knowledge of the market sector they were entering into. In addition, it found in some cases, high-net-worth individuals were using the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa route to circumvent the £2 million required to obtain a Tier 1 Investor Visa. This was being done visa holders investing the required £200,000 into an organisation, and then taking a minor role in its operation.
In an attempt by the Home Office to limit abuse of the immigration system and to decrease the number of successful Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applications, changes have been made to the entrepreneur portion of the points-based system. As a result, the 2014 ruling to add a ‘Genuineness Test’ for all Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications has created some challenges for potential applicants. Following the MAC report, the criteria for the Genuine Entrepreneur Test has become even stricter.
What are the basics of the Genuine Entrepreneur Test?
The Genuine Entrepreneur Test is designed to ensure that those applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa have the funds, skills and industry knowledge needed to fulfil the requirements set out by the Home Office.
The basic requirements of the Genuine Entrepreneur Test include:
You must prove you have the following financial resources immediately available to you:
- £200,000 for funds held outside the UK; or
- £50,000 for funds held in the UK – Investment from DIT, VC or UK Government Department
- funds must either be in the applicant’s name, available through an investor, or held jointly with a partner who is not an applicant
You must prove the legitimacy of your business plan
- the business plan must be professional and original, i.e. not copied from the internet
- it needs to show that you have experience in the sector in which you plan to invest your funds
You can show you can support yourself financially by proving
- you have funds to support yourself and your dependents
- these funds are in addition to your investment funds of £50,000 or £200,000
This may sound simple, however, there is around a 50% refusal rating for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas. As UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) must be satisfied with your intent to invest the funds in the business within three months of entering the country, they may conduct an interview in person to further establish the validity of your plans.
The genuine entrepreneur test must also be passed for those applying for an extension to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa and ILR (settlement). Therefore, all applicants proposing to use the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route to enter the UK must be prepared to establish legitimate businesses that make use of the investment funds.
Can a professional immigration lawyer help me to prepare for a UKVI Entrepreneur Visa interview?
Due to the high refusal rate among Tier 1 entrepreneur visa applicants, it is imperative that you prepare for a UKVI interview thoroughly. The best way to do this is by investing in a professional immigration lawyer to assist you with the process of attending an interview. They can run through the questions you are likely to be asked and help you formulate persuasive, articulate answers.
How do I create a business plan for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?
It is vital to always include valid documentation to support each statement in your application. This includes a professional business plan that proves to immigration officials that you can meet the requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. These include creating two new jobs for settled UK residents and investing your funds into your business which in turn assists in its growth.
Never purchase your business plan from the internet, this will be discovered and likely lead to your application for an Entrepreneur Visa being instantly rejected.
As with the UKVI interview, it is worth investing in professional advice when writing a business plan for UKVI. One of the biggest mistakes applicants make is presenting the same business plan they have used to attract investment to immigration officials. This often results in the visa being declined because:
- in many cases, the immigration official who is examining your plan may have little commercial experience and have no knowledge of your industry, and;
- an immigration official is not as concerned with the prospective growth of your organisation as they are with your ability to meet Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa criteria.
Therefore, although it is important to include details of forecasted sales and profits, the financial information is not the most vital part of the business plan being submitted to UKVI. Instead, you need to demonstrate you understand your industry, the UK market and employment laws. You must be able to show your presence and investment in a pre-existing company will make a marked difference in its growth, or you have the skills required to launch a successful start-up in the industry you have chosen.
Successful Case Study
Mr A is a foreign national planning to establish a new business in the UK. He spent over a month carefully preparing a strong application for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa. Although he is an experienced and successful businessman, he understood the importance of engaging an expert immigration solicitor to ensure the success of his application.
Using his solicitor’s advice, he carefully re-worked his business plan to show his market analysis, marketing plan, and evidence of demand for his services. He also included letters from many stakeholders stating his successes and skills.
Using all relevant documentation, he clearly demonstrated the accessibility and security of funds he required to make the business a success.
His application was approved, and he’s now in the process of moving to the UK and setting up his business.
We’re Here to Help
At A Y & J Solicitors we take pride in successfully working with Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants. Our expert immigration solicitors work with applicants very hard to achieve the best possible results. For help with your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application, or for any UK immigration law concerns, contact us today. We’re here to help.
Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.