Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

New Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visas available from 6 April 2012

On 15 March 2012, a written ministerial statement was laid in Parliament outlining a number of changes to the Immigration Rules.

From 6 April 2012, the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category will be open for graduates who wish to extend their stay in the UK in order to establish one or more businesses in the UK and who have been identified by Higher Education Institutions as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills.You will be able to apply for leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) if you have, or have last been granted, entry clearance, leave to renter or remain as (a) a Tier 4 Migrant, (b) a Student, (c) a Student Nurse, (d) a Student Re-sitting an Examination, (e) a Student Writing Up a Thesis, (f) a Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist, or (g) a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant.

You will need to be able to satisfy the following requirements in order to obtain a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa:

(1)    Endorsed by a UK Higher Education Institution

You must show that you have been endorsed by a UK Higher Education Institution which:
(a)    has Highly Trusted Sponsor status under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System,
(b)    is an A-rated Sponsor under Tier 2 of the Points-Based System if a Tier 2 licence is held;
(c)    is an A-rated Sponsor under Tier 5 of the Points-Based System is a Tier 5 licence is held; and
(d)    has established processes and competence for identifying, nurturing and developing entrepreneurs among its undergraduate and postgraduate population.

(2)    Requirement of endorsement

(a)    If your previous grant of leave was not as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant, the endorsement must confirm that, within the 12 months immediately before the date of the endorsement, you were awarded a UK recognised Bachelor degree, Master degree or PhD (not a qualification of equivalent level which is not a degree);


If your previous grant of leave was as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant, the endorsement is from the same institution which provided the endorsement for that previous grant of leave.

(b)    The endorsement must confirm that the institution has assessed you and considers that: 

(i)    You have a genuine, credible and innovative business idea; and
(ii)    You will spend the majority of your working time on developing business ventures; and
(iii)    If your previous grant of leave was as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), you have made satisfactory progress in developing your business since that leave was granted and will, on a balance of probabilities, qualify for leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant within the next 12 months.

(3)    English Language

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country, then you must:

•    Pass an approved English language test at CEFR level C1 (equivalent to 6.5-8.0 IELTS) in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening; OR

•    Hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a United Kingdom bachelor’s degree or above.

(4)    Maintenance

You must have at least £900 in personal savings which has been held for a consecutive 90 day period before the date of application.


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