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The Home Office have proposed changes to the Tier 1 visa category through a Statement of Changes released on 7 March 2019. Changes include:
• Introduction of new Tier 1 categories namely Start-up and Innovator to replace the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) routes
• Applicants will be assessed by trusted endorsement bodies vetted by the UK government;
• Increased examination over the source of funds for Tier 1 Investor applicants by extending the requirement to hold the investment funds from 90 days to 2 years
• Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route to be closed.
• Start-up visa category would replace the graduate entrepreneur route
• The Innovator visa will replace the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route
• Innovators may qualify for settlement after three years
• New Investor visa applicants would need to demonstrate control of the required £2m investment funds for the last 2 years in comparison to 90 days under the existing rules.
• If the funds have been held for a shorter period, applicants would need demonstrate the source of the investment funds.
• Investment in government bonds would be precluded, to incentivise investment in active and trading UK companies.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes has said:
“My priority is making sure that talented business people continue to see the UK as an attractive destination to develop their businesses. This will help create more jobs across the country and ensure our economy continues to thrive”
The changes have been prompted as part of a crackdown on organised crime and money laundering. The Tier 1 visa category has faced criticism for leaving the UK open to corruption and stolen funds being laundered through the UK from Russia, China and the Middle East.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Immigration is a complex area of law for both corporates and individuals. Please contact our Business Immigration Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.