Changes to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Immigration Rules
The Home Secretary has today published a Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (HC309) setting out various amendments to the Immigration Rules for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants. The changes will apply to all Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications submitted from 11 January 2018.
According to the Home Office, the changes are intended to consolidate and clarify the rules for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicants. In response to feedback, the “Attributes” requirements for this category in Appendix A are being rewritten to make them “clearer and easier to follow”. It remains to be seen whether this will in fact be the case. There are also consequential minor changes to Part 6A. According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the requirements themselves will be largely unchanged other than the following:
- The job creation rules currently require jobs to have existed for at least 12 months during the applicant’s most recent period of leave. A change is being made to enable applicants to apply even if their current leave was granted less than 12 months ago; in such cases the jobs must have existed for at least 12 months before the date of the current application;
- A transitional arrangement relating to the job creation requirement for applicants who entered the category before 6 April 2014, currently set out in published guidance, is being incorporated into the Immigration Rules. This transitional arrangement will only apply to extension and settlement applications made before 6 April 2019;
- Applicants will be asked to confirm the paid hours of the employees in jobs they created as well as the hourly rate, to reduce the possibility of calculation errors;
- An amendment is being made to the requirement relating to Real Time Full Payment Submissions, to reflect the fact that these documents do not state the employment start date;
- An amendment is being made to the requirements relating to job creation, so that the required evidence relates to the period before the applicant joined the business, rather than the period before jobs were created. This provides a clearer demonstration of the applicant’s impact on the business;
- Clarifications are being made to make clear that, where funds are currently held by another business, which is not the business the applicant is using to score points, that business is considered to be a third party providing funding;
Applicants relying on investment from a venture capital firm will now be required to also provide a letter from the firm confirming the date(s) the funds were transferred to the applicant or invested in their business and that the firm was registered with the Financial Conduct Authority at the time. This requirement is added to counter ongoing abuse relating to venture capital funding;
- To prevent recycling of funds between applicants, a change is being made so that applicants cannot rely on funds or investment that have been provided by another Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant, or that migrant’s business or close family member. Who is considered to be a close family member will depend on the facts in an individual application;
- On 19 November 2015, Statement of Changes HC 535 introduced a requirement that investments made in the form of directors’ loans must be evidenced through readily identifiable transactions in applicants’ business bank statements. A change is being made so that this requirement only applies to investments made after 19 November 2015;
- A provision is being removed because it contradicts the rule requiring applicants to be registered with Companies House within 6 months of the date the applicant entered the category. The removed provision requires that such registration has to be effected within 8 months of the same date;
- Redundant transitional arrangements relating to applicants switching from Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) are being removed. This is because leave as a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Migrant was granted for two years and the category was closed on 6 April 2012;
- A clarification is being made to the rule which excludes buying the business from its previous owner from being considered as a qualifying investment, to clarify that this means buying any business from its previous owner;
- Minor amendments are being made to the requirements concerning format and contents of letters (used as evidence) for consistency;
- Clarifications are being made to the evidential requirements for Tier 1 (General) migrants switching into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category to make clear the relevant dates for evidence.
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For expert advice in relation to an application for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form.