The economic forecast for the UK is gloomy. As the furlough scheme begins to wind down, economists are forecasting unemployment to hit levels not seen since the 1980s. With millions expected to be unemployed by October, the government are looking to invest vast amounts in infrastructure to create jobs. The government should also consider an additional strategy – they should reopen the Entrepreneur visa.
Prior to its closure in March 2019, approximately 3,000 individuals entered the UK each year as Tier 1 Entrepreneurs. This route required each migrant to invest a minimum of £200,000 into a new or existing business and create a minimum of two new full time jobs in the business. This meant that Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants were creating in the region of 6,000 jobs per year. This steady stream of job creation has since all but disappeared.
The route that replaced the entrepreneur visa, the innovator visa, has proved to be an inadequate replacement from the point of view of job creation. There is no requirement for innovators to create jobs (although innovators can show job creation to qualify for indefinite leave to remain). Even if the innovator visa did require the applicants to create jobs, it would still be wholly insufficient given that only 159 innovator visas were granted in the first year of the route being established.
Apparently, the Entrepreneur route closed due to criticism that applicants were abusing the route and that “it had a long tail of low quality projects which contributed little or nothing to the UK economy”. Whilst increased scrutiny may have been necessary, the current approach has clearly not worked. We encounter many successful business people in search of a visa who have ideas that would likely benefit the UK and create jobs, but who do not qualify under the stringent rules of the innovator visa.
Now more than ever, the UK government needs to reconsider their approach and welcome migrants looking to invest into and create UK businesses.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team