Although the terms under which Tier 1 investment visas are granted appear quite straightforward, the majority of applications are refused by the UK Visas and Immigration Authority. Government figures show that of the 890 migrant interviews carried out in the twelve months to September 2013 only 270 were granted. That equates to a rejection rate of 70%.

Clearly, the process by which the criteria are imposed is more rigorously applied than many applicants realise. In particular, this applies to The Genuine Entrepreneur Test whereby the business credentials on which the application rests are examined. Failure to provide a detailed, plausible and workable business plan is frequently cited as the most common reason for refusal. Since April 2015 a formal business plan has been made a compulsory element of the application. This authorities’ assessment of the plan is made on ‘the balance of probabilities’ which puts the onus fully on the applicant to ensure that their business proposal is specified to the highest level.

A Tier 1 entrepreneur visa requires applicants to show that they have access to £200,000 to invest in a commercial venture. For applicants who are already on a post study Tier 1 visa different terms apply – most notably, in that the investment figure is £50,000. In both cases further conditions apply including a proven standard of English and a guarantee to be financially self-sufficient. The tier 1 entrepreneur visa allows for a stay of 3 years and four months in the UK with the possibility of an extension of two years beyond that time. The applicant’s spouse and children under 18 are also included in the terms of the visa.

Application fees vary according to the applicant’s location. Applicants from within the UK are charged £1,180 plus a further £1,180 for each dependant. Lower charges apply to those applying in person from outside the UK. Anyone contemplating applying for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa is advised to do so on the basis of qualified and fully informed professional advice.