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New immigration opportunities for MBA graduates and elite global graduate entrepreneurs

In its latest Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, presented to Parliament on 14 March 2013, the UK Home Office has announced new opportunities for MBA graduates and elite global graduate entrepreneurs to enter, or extend their stay in, the UK in the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category currently caters for graduates who have been identified by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills.  From 6 April 2013, the following key changes are being made to this category:

  • The category is being expanded to include additional places for talented MBA graduates from UK HEIs and to accommodate UK Trade and Investment’s elite global graduate entrepreneur scheme, which targets the brightest and best entrepreneurs from overseas HEIs;
  • The current annual limit of 1,000 places is being amended to cater for these additional groups. From 6 April 2013 there will be 2,000 places within the limit – 1,000 places for MBA graduates of UK HEIs, 900 places for graduates in any subject from UK HEIs, and 100 places for elite global graduate entrepreneurs;
  • As with the existing limit, places will be split between UK HEIs who confirm they wish to take part in the scheme (with the exception of the 100 places for elite global graduate entrepreneurs, which will be managed by UK Trade and Investment). It will be for the endorsing body to decide how best to use the places allocated to it.

Provision is also being made for entry clearance applications in the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category (previously only in-country applications were accepted).  Those graduating from UK HEIs will be able to apply from overseas, as well as elite global graduate entrepreneurs.

Elite global graduate entrepreneurs will need to provide evidence of their overseas qualifications and their English language ability. Entrepreneurial funding from UK Trade and Investment may be used to meet the maintenance funds requirement, which is being set at £1,800 for overseas applicants plus £1,200 for each dependant.

The new Immigration Rules also make provision for Tier 4 (General) students who successfully complete a PhD to stay in the UK for one year in order to find skilled work or set up as an entrepreneur.

A further change is being made to enable Tier 2 (General) Migrants to switch into the category, if they have been working for their UK HEIs as post-doctoral researchers after graduation.

For advice or assistance with applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or


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