UK Entrepreneur visa category contributed “little or nothing” to the UK economy and will be scrapped
On 7 March 2019, the Home Office published a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules, which includes several amendments made to points based visa categories including investor, highly-skilled worker and student visa categories. However, the most prominent changes include the closure of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category starting from this April 2019.
The existing Entrepreneur visa category, which the government has been planning to reform, as it has a significant record of low-quality projects which contributed a ‘little or nothing’ to the UK economy. The changes are also explained by the rising financial crimes such as money laundering and fraud through this category, which follows the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) review and reports published as far back as 2015.
Individuals holding ILR for a certain period, typically five years, may become eligible to apply for British citizenship, further solidifying their ties to the UK. British citizenship grants individuals the right to a British passport, unrestricted access to employment opportunities, and the ability to participate fully in the political and social life of the country.
New Tier 1 Visa Categories
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category is being replaced by two new categories – Start-up and Innovator. The major difference between Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) and the new Start-up category is that the applicants under the Start-up route will not need to be graduates and the requirement of securing funding will cease.
The Innovator visa option is intended for more senior and mature entrepreneurs or business people, who will be required to invest £50,000 of their own funds from legitimate sources in their businesses (reduced from £200,000 for most applicants in the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category). This requirement for funds will be waived for migrants who want to switch from the Start-up category and those who have made a significant achievement against their business plans.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also referred to as settlement or permanent residency, is an immigration status in the UK that offers individuals the privilege of residing and working in the country without any limitations on their duration of stay. ILR bestows various advantages upon individuals, including access to public funds, healthcare services, and educational opportunities. With ILR, individuals can establish their long-term presence in the UK, enjoying the freedom to live and work indefinitely.