UK Tier 1 Visa Changes

In the summer of 2018, you would be forgiven if you missed an incling from the Minister of State for Immigration, Caroline Noakes, when she made a statement to Parliament regarding future changes to the UK Immigration Rules including all Tier 1 visa routes.

On December 6th 2018, the minister again made a statement to Parliament further outlining what these changes could look like and that statement can be found on the UK Parliament website. A snippet of what was said is copied verbatim below..:

“The Government is clear that entrepreneurs play a key role in creating jobs and driving economic growth, which is vital to the prosperity of the UK. In June of this year, we announced a new Start-up visa route. This will build upon the successes of the current Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route, expanding it to ensure that the UK can benefit from a wider pool of overseas talent looking to establish new businesses in the UK. Applicants will be endorsed by either a business or higher education institution sponsor.

We are announcing that we will build on this offer further by introducing a new Innovator route, for more experienced business people. This will replace the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route and have a similar emphasis on endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability.

Alongside this, we will reform our Tier 1 (Investor) route.

These reforms will be introduced in the spring and will ensure the UK remains a world-leading destination for investment and innovation. We will shortly be publishing a Statement of Intent setting out the details of how the reformed routes will work and I will place a copy in the House Library.”

Pretty emphatic language then that both the Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa routes are going to be significantly altered, as soon as possibly April 1st 2019, as part of a full overhaul of the current UK Immigration System.

There has been speculation that for the T1 (Ent) route particularly, two fundamental aspects of the existing scheme will change. Firstly, the investment amount (ignoring the current £50,000 route) has been mooted to be increasing, following a similar trend in the US where rather than suspending somewhat controversial visa routes, Governments are making the investment amount higher. Currently set at £200,000, figures of around £400,000 have been mentioned. Secondly, the business plan and immigration interview will likely be more focused on the trending buzz words as used by the Minister of State for Immigration herself in here statement: innovation, viability and scalability.

Here at Greengate Business Associates Ltd we expect this to mean a far greater impetus to be put on the business plan element of each application, indicating that the business plans themselves will have to be of exceptional quality to assist an applicant through the process. Template-driven, or accountant-led financial documents are unlikely to be of a high enough standard to satisfy these new requirements.

We’ll keep you up-to-date with any developments, as and when they arrive.