Over the years, the government has made many changes to the Entrepreneur visa route in an attempt to counter abuse under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category. This has led to an increase in applicant scrutiny and high refusal rates – mostly due to the applicant’s lack of understanding of the immigration rules and the documentary evidence required.
Our business immigration solicitors often consult with entrepreneur visa applicants who find it challenging to demonstrate they meet the “Genuine Entrepreneur Test”. Despite having a viable and credible business plan, there are times where case workers at the Home Office simply fail to understand the business proposition before them.
What is the “Genuine Entrepreneur Test”?
The Genuine Entrepreneur Test which was introduced in January 2013 became more challenging to satisfy following the immigration rule changes in April 2015. The subjective test applies to all initial, extension and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications.
In assessing your credibility as a genuine entrepreneur, the Home Office takes the following into account:
You will need to submit extensive documentary evidence which allows the Home Office to assess your eligibility and in some circumstances, you may be required to attend an interview.
Solid business plan – key to success?
When preparing your business plan, you should bear in mind that your credibility as an entrepreneur will be assessed by a Home Office caseworker who may not have much real-world business experience. It is therefore, important that you submit a business plan which is clear, concise and easy for a non-business minded person to understand.
The business plan should address issues such as your:
You should ensure that any figures quoted are accurate, realistic and consistent with the documentary evidence provided.
It is also advisable to mention what skills you are bringing to the business and if any particular skills are required, explain the costs and processes involved in getting the relevant staff.
Your business plan should reflect that you have researched your proposed business in depth and you know who your customers, suppliers and competitors will be. If interviewed, you should be able to explain confidently your proposed business activities and satisfy a case worker that you intend genuinely to invest in a business which you will be actively involved in.
Migration Advisory Committee – Recommendations
In March 2015, the government asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the Entrepreneur visa category. MAC’s report which was published in September 2015 suggested a more selective approach the objective of which would be to improve the quality of entrepreneurs gaining Tier 1 visas and in turn maximising the economic benefit to the UK.
We welcome the recommendations which include the selection of entrepreneurs by industry experts rather than civil servants. This would mean that business plans would be assessed by an expert panel who would assess viability, scalability and innovation potential as well as skills and aptitude of the individual to execute their business plan. MAC also recommended that the government considers introducing a visa route specifically for talented entrepreneurs looking to establish their start-up business.
Clarkslegal Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Solicitors London, Reading & the Thames Valley
We advise high net worth clients on their visa options and can assist applicants with setting up their business, applying for an appropriate visa and remaining compliant to ensure they are able to obtain extension visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) with relative ease.
Author: Afeefah Shabbir Immigration Solicitor
Would a one-to-one meeting help?
To arrange a meeting with one of our Tier 1 specialists to assess your eligibility for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, please call us on 020 7539 8000 or email us using the Contact Form.