Setting Up A Business - Start Ups, Innovators & Representatives of Overseas Businesses
The Home Office has recently announced two categories of the Immigration Rules for those wishing to establish a business in the UK. The two new categories are Start-Up and Innovator, and applications can be made from 29 March 2019. Alongside this the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category will close from 29 March 2019 and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur from July 2019.
This category is for people seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. Applicants will have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. This category offers leave for 2 years and does not lead directly to settlement in the UK, but applicants may progress into the Innovator category below.
This category is for more experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK. Applicants will have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. With some exceptions, applicants will have funding to invest in their business. This category may lead to settlement in the UK.
The endorsing body will need to establish and confirm that the applicant’s business venture meets all of the requirements below:
The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.
There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets.
There is a mandatory English language requirement that is higher than the previous Entrepreneur category - level B2 CEFR which can be met by either being from a majority English speaking country, having a degree taught in English, or passing an approved English test.
Finally, there is a maintenance requirement that requires the applicant to have a particular amount of money in their bank account, £945, for 90 days prior to the application.
After three years in this category an applicant can apply for indefinite leave to remain. At this stage they must meet an additional English language requirement and also a strict residence requirement. One year after obtaining indefinite leave to remain, and also having lived in the UK for five years in total, an applicant can qualify for British citizenship.
Tier 1 Entrepreneurs
This category was removed to new applicants from 29 March 2019 but those with existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur leave can continue to extend until 6 April 2023 and apply for ILR until 6 April 2025.
Renewal of the entrepreneur status
If you wish to extend your permission to stay you will need to demonstrate that you have:
- invested £200,000 into a United Kingdom business;
- registered for business within six months;
- engaged in business activity; and
- created the equivalent of two new full-time (30 hour working week) paid jobs for at least two people who are settled in the United Kingdom and those jobs have existed for at least 12 months each.
Indefinite leave to remain
At the end of five years lawful residence in the UK as an entrepreneur, the applicant (and their dependants) will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (also known as permanent residence or settlement).
You must satisfy the same requirements as set out above for a renewal of your leave. Furthermore, you must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about like in the UK, unless the applicant/dependant is under the age of 18 or aged 65 or over at the time of the application. You must also have no unspent criminal convictions.
Accelerated route to indefinite leave to remain
From 6 April 2011 the UK Visas and Immigration Department offer an accelerated route to indefinite leave to remain of 3 years instead of 5 for those who have a turnover of £5 million or employ 10 UK residents in the UK for a specified period of time whilst resident as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrant.
One year after obtaining indefinite leave to remain, an applicant can qualify for British citizenship.
Representative of overseas business
The Representative of an Overseas Business category allows a business that has no branch or subsidiary in the UK to send a senior employee to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary. This category does not require a £200,000 investment but does have an English language requirement.
After five years in this category an applicant can apply for indefinite leave to remain. At this stage they must meet an additional English language requirement and also a strict residence requirement. One year after obtaining indefinite leave to remain, an applicant can qualify for British Citizenship.
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