UK tier 1 visa guide by Doyle Clayton
On the key considerations for businesses looking to invest/ doing business specifically in London
Key considerations include choosing the legal status for your business, deciding whether you need an office presence in London (and if so, where, as the city has diverse areas) and dealing with employment and immigration issues if you intend to hire staff in the UK and/or from overseas.
On the key considerations to set up a business under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
You must ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and score the number of points required under the Points Based System (PBS) for this type of visa. Under the current Immigration Rules, you must have access to investment funds of not less than £200,000 (or £50,000 in limited cases). The funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions and be disposable. You can form an ‘entrepreneurial team’ with one other applicant and share the investment funds. You must meet the English language requirement and be able to support yourself and any dependant family members who will be accompanying you to the UK. You must also demonstrate that you satisfy the ‘genuine entrepreneur test’ by showing that you intend to set up or take over a business in the UK.
If your visa application is successful, it will be granted for an initial maximum period of 3 years and 4 months. With this visa, you can set up or take over the running of one or more businesses either as a director or in a self-employed capacity. You must be engaged in genuine entrepreneur activity – you cannot do any work for other businesses or get access to public funds.
Under the current rules, you can extend your visa for a further 2 years, if you have invested, or had invested on your behalf, the investment funds (either £200,000 or £50,000) in cash directly into one or more businesses in the UK. You will need to provide evidence that the full amount has been invested and you will need to have registered as a director or as a self-employed person in the UK within 6 months of the date of your arrival in the UK. You will also need to show that you have created new jobs in the UK by having established a new business that has created the equivalent of at least 2 new full-time jobs for persons settled in the UK. There are specific rules relating to each of the above requirements and the evidence required to demonstrate you have met the requirements is very prescriptive.