Successive British governments over the years have been encouraging talented entrepreneurs to bring their business to Britain. One tried and tested route for anyone who’s from outside the EEA and Switzerland to get entry to Britain is through the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

It has never been that straightforward. For a start, alongside the application, which cost between £944 and £1,180 per person, applicants also needed to demonstrate that they either had, or had access to, a minimum of £50,000 of investment funds in order to apply.

However, since changes to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur application in April 2015, it seems that it’s going to be more challenging for entrepreneurs to qualify for their visas. The main change that will potentially cause problems for some applicants is the ‘genuine entrepreneur test’ introduced by the UK government to counter abuse in this immigration category.

The requirements that applicants will now need to comply with now include the following:  

  • Initial applicants will be required to provide a business plan as part of their application. This was not compulsory before 6 April 2015, but it was often submitted in an application as evidence that the applicant’s business proposal was genuine. Now, it’s not optional – every applicant will have to supply a business plan.
  • Applicants will now also need to show evidence for the source of funds if they have been held in their account for less than 90 days before submitting an application.
  • The ‘genuine entrepreneur test’ will not only be for new applicants. It will also be extended to those people applying for an extension or indefinite leave to remain (settlement) applications.

The reasoning behind getting Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa applicants to meet all the requirements mentioned above is so that the UK government can filter through the applications to find those people who are real entrepreneurs with sound business sense and experience as well as a viable business proposition

The changes in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa seem to be sending a clear message to applicants that Britain is only open for entrepreneurial business if you can demonstrate you are a genuine and business-savvy entrepreneur.