On 7 March 2019, the Home Office published a statement of change to the Immigration Rules. The Statement of Changes is long and intricate, affecting many areas of immigration law from Tier 2 to stateless persons.
Two of the biggest changes were significant reforms to the Tier 1 (Investor) route and the closing of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route. Applicants could face the following three scenarios in light of these changes:
- Applicants looking to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1(Investor) visa in the future and needing to know what the requirements will be?
- Applicants already in possession of a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Investor) visa and needing to know how the changes will affect them?
- Applicants about to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Investor) visa and needing to know how the changes will affect them?
This article aims to answer some of the queries that these applicants may have. It is by no means a comprehensive explanation of the rules and applicants should seek legal advice on their specific situations.
1) I am looking to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1(Investor) visa in the future. What will the requirements be?
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
On 29 March 2019, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route will close and the Tier 1 (Innovator) route will open in its place.
The required investment for this route has dropped quite considerably from £200,000 to £50,000. However, the requirements have changed dramatically. Innovators will now be required to obtain an endorsement from a trusted UK body, such as a government agency or an accelerator. The endorsing body will be required to judge the applicant’s business plan to assess if the business is innovative, viable and scalable.
If the application is approved, the applicant will have to stay in contact with the endorsing body, checking in with them after 6, 12 and 24 months. When the applicant is ready to apply to extend their visa, they will need a further endorsement from that body, which will require the applicant to prove (amongst other conditions) that they have made significant achievements in line with their business plan.
Applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain will require a still further endorsement letter. The applicant will have to satisfy several requirements to receive this endorsement. The bar is relatively high and will require innovators to have successful businesses either employing a number of people or generating significant revenues.
There are other significant differences between the Innovator route and the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route, such as increasing the English language requirement. Please contact us for further details.
Tier 1 (Investor)
The Tier 1 (Investor) route remains intact. However, there have been some significant changes. The main changes affect two areas:
- What you can invest in; and
- Source of funds.
A) What you can invest in
Applicants are no longer able to invest their money in UK government bonds. This means that applicants can only invest their money in loan or share capital in active and trading UK companies. There are other technical changes about what you can and can’t invest in. Please contact us for further details.
B) Source of Funds
Currently, if an applicant has held the funds to be invested for 90 days, they are not required to show the source of those funds. This period has now been extended to two years, meaning that if an applicant has held the money for less than 2 years, they will be required to show the source of the funds.
There are other technical changes, for example requiring the bank to confirm that they have carried out the required due diligence checks.
The changes to both routes are relatively significant. If you are intending to apply in either category, it is important to ensure that you understand and meet the requirements fully.
2) I already have a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Investor) visa, how will the changes affect me?
The Home Office have put in place transitional agreements for individuals who have already been granted leave in either of these categories.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants can apply to extend their visas until 5 April 2023 and apply for ILR in this category until 5 April 2025. If an applicant is not able to apply for ILR before this date, they will be forced to switch into a different category of visa.
Tier 1 (Investor)
Applicants who were granted Tier 1 (Investor) visas under the rules in place before 6 November 2014 (£1 million Investors) can still extend their visas in the same category with the same requirement up to and including 5 April 2020 and apply for ILR in this category up to and including 5 April 2022. If an applicant is not able to apply for ILR before this date in the same category, they will be forced to switch into a different category of visa or re-apply under the updated route.
There are concessions in place for people who are already in the UK on these routes. However, should you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact Gherson.
3) I am about to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Investor) visa, how will the changes affect me?
If you can submit your application before 29 March 2019, your application will be considered under the current rules. If you are not able to submit your application before this date, you will be required to satisfy the requirements of the new rules.
Gherson have extensive experience of all aspects of the Tier 1 categories, especially the Entrepreneur and Investor routes and we shall be monitoring all the recently announced changes carefully. If you have any queries as regards the new changes, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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.