Tier 1 (Entrepreneur): The Government considers that the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category has been open to abuse. It is therefore making changes with the aim of reducing such abuse.

Applicants for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa must have, depending on the circumstances, either £200,000 or £50,000 available to them until the funds are spent in their business or businesses. The changes clarify the meaning of the spending of such funds. Spending on the migrant’s own remuneration has always been prohibited. To this, the following excluded spending is being added:

  1. buying the business from a previous owner, where the money goes to that previous owner rather than into the business;

  2. investing in other businesses; and

  3. any spending which is not directly for the purpose of establishing or running the applicant’s own business or businesses.

Where such funds are being provided by a third party, the financial institution holding such funds is currently required to confirm the amount available to the migrant as part of the application. Obtaining such confirmation is sometimes difficult as this is not usually within the financial institution’s knowledge. This requirement is being changed so that the financial institution will instead need to confirm that the third party has informed the institution of the amount of money it intends to make available and that the institution is not aware of the third party having promised to make that money available to any other person. Hopefully, this will make it easier on financial institutions to produce the required evidence needed by a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicant, who is relying on third party funding.

However, another change cuts across this simplification. This is the requirement of a certification of a declaration, confirming that such a third party is making the funds available, by an independent lawyer of the third party. Up to now, the lawyers providing the transactional advice have potentially been able to provide this.

Applicants switching from the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category will also be able to rely on funds invested in their businesses up to 24 months before they apply rather than the usual 12 months.

The evidential requirements in relation to joint funding, funding from spouses, submission of accounts and businesses with multiple directors (particularly where more than one is a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Migrant) are also being changed.

Finally, a minimum age of 16 years for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications is being added, together with a need for parental support for applicants who are under 18 years old.