07/09/2016

UK Business Visas

The United Kingdom is one of the most attractive places in the world to invest money and to do business.  The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and ninth-largest in the world measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), comprising 4% of world GDP. The UK is currently part of the European Union, although the UK Government is committed to launching the process to exit the European Union within the next 6 months, offering unfettered access for goods and services to the single market.

 

UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa is suitable for business professionals who are looking to invest money in the UK to set up a business, or take over the running of one or more businesses in the UK. To meet the requirements, applicants need to demonstrate the following:

  • £200,000 to invest in your proposed business in the UK, or £100,000 if you are part of an entrepreneurial team of two partners;
  • Or have access to £50,000 to invest in a business from a venture capital firm regulated by the FSA;
  • A robust, genuine and viable business plan;
  • Evidence of English language ability and proof of sufficient funds to maintain yourself in the UK, typically around £3,000 for subsistence before the new UK business can generate revenue.

Once approved, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa allows applicants to remain in the UK for 3 years and 4 months; a 2-year extension can be applied for after this period, if certain conditions have been met, with a further option to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) following this.

Tier 1 Business Plan

As part of the application, investors are required to provide a comprehensive and viable business plan. The success of the application is highly dependent on this business plan; therefore, it is essential to invest adequate time and resources to ensure that this plan communicates your proposal effectively. GGBA has extensive experience in preparing business plans for immigration purposes, and can help prepare a viable business plan that meets all of the UK Home Office requirements. Such a plan will need to demonstrate the following:

  • The relevant experience and expertise you have in the sector you plan to invest in;
  • How the investment funds will be utilized;
  • Details of products or services offered, and pricing structure;
  • A marketing plan, including an understanding of the UK market and competitor analysis;
  • How the investment will create and sustain two jobs in the UK (so the visa can be extended after the initial period);
  • Robust financial modelling projections, including cash flow forecasts, profit and loss statements and balance sheets;
  • The role of the applicant within the business, and details of additional staffing needs;
  • Information regarding necessary business licenses, and any professional services (accountant, lawyer etc.) need to run the business.

It is important to remember that these business plans will be read by UK Immigration officials, not business professionals, and therefore will need to be clear, concise and easily accessible in being able to demonstrate that your business proposal is viable, realistic and that you understand your obligations as a business owner and prospective employer.

Other Considerations

For entrepreneurs who are planning to move to the UK on a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, the issue of tax is both important and confusing.  As part of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa application, you may be required during interview to demonstrate some level of understanding of both the UK tax system and UK employment law, particularly regarding your proposed investment and/or UK business activities. Fortunately, the UK taxation system, as administered by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), is relatively straightforward, and GGBA have access to experienced advisors who can assist with a whole range of taxation issues covering your personal, employment and business affairs.

London is one of the world’s financial hubs and has been so for centuries.  Hundreds of corporations have therefore based their head offices in the British capital, making it a very favorable place to invest. The UK also benefits from:

  • Highly skilled labor force
  • Stable government, favorable tax rate and conducive regulatory framework for businesses
  • Large economy with potential for growth
  • Excellent transport links and infrastructure

How Can We Help?

In addition to helping you prepare a comprehensive business plan that will increase your chances of obtaining a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, GGBA can offer additional guidance and support to help your UK business or investment thrive, including:

  • Providing access to respected professional advisors who will work alongside your business;
  • A range of corporate advisory services, including presentations for funding, due diligence, growth strategies, UK market advice, business development strategies, and assistance with statutory requirements, tax filings and other regulatory obligations;
  • Access to international advisers to support immigration investment opportunities to the United States;
  • Assistance with mergers, disposals and acquisitions;
  • Visa extensions and ILR requirements;
  • Economic analysis and feasibility studies.

Updated – 10th March 2017