The Home Office yesterday announced urgent changes to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) rules, which took effect as of today, 31 January 2013. The following changes are applicable to all Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications that have not yet been decided and apply to applicants who seek entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant for the first time.
Changes to note are as follows:
- The introduction of a 'genuine entrepreneur test' which, it is intended, will allow UKBA caseworkers to test the credibility of suspicious applicants;
- A requirement that the necessary minimum funds for the application are held or invested in the business on an ongoing basis, rather than solely at the time of application.
Reasons for these changes are, it is stated, to tackle abuse in the entrepreneur migration route whilst protecting genuine entrepreneurs. The Minister of State for Immigration (Mark Harper) confirms that, since the tightening of some migration routes in April 2011, "the Entrepreneur route is now being targeted by applicants seeking to abuse the immigration rules".
Although these more stringent tests may discourage potential entrepreneurs from coming to the UK, the minister wishes to make it clear that:
"[t]he UK remains open to the brightest and best - genuine entrepreneurs with the ideas and motivation to drive economic growth will always be welcome in the UK."
Nonetheless, introducing such subjective elements to a points-based category surely defeats the purpose of the Points-Based System, and it is yet to be seen how UKBA caseworkers will maintain a consistent approach when assessing a prospective entrepreneur's genuine intention to establish a business in the UK.
If you are concerned about how these changes affect you then please contact us.