Government rolls out the red carpet for entrepreneurs and investors
16 March 2011
Foreign entrepreneurs and investors are being given an extra incentive to come to the UK today by new visa rules, which will reward those who contribute to economic growth.
Under changes to the Immigration Rules people who come to the UK under Tier 1 (Investor) of the points-based system will be able to settle here faster if they invest large sums of money. Those who invest £5 million will be allowed to settle here after 3 years, and those investing £10 million or more will be allowed to settle after 2 years. This compares with the current minimum 5-year requirement.
The right to accelerated settlement will apply to those investors who are already in the UK and have invested large sums, as well as new arrivals.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants will also be able to settle in the UK more quickly if they create 10 jobs or turn over £5 million in a 3-year period.
The standard investment threshold for an entrepreneur to qualify for a Tier 1 visa will remain at £200,000, but the government will allow high-potential businesses to come to the UK with £50,000 in funding from a reputable organisation. And entrepreneurs will be allowed to enter the UK with their business partners as long as they have access to joint funds.
Major investors will also enjoy more flexibility: they will be allowed to spend up to 180 days per year, rather than 90, outside the UK without affecting their right to settle here. This addresses a major concern cited by investors, as they need to be constantly mobile.Prospective entrepreneurs
Additionally, a new type of visitor visa will be created for prospective entrepreneurs. They will be allowed to enter the UK so that they can secure funding and make arrangements for starting their business before they transfer to a full Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa while they are here.Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)
The government has also published a statement of intent outlining how the new Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) route will operate from April 2011.
This innovative new route for exceptionally talented migrants will be limited to 1,000 visas per year. It is for those who have already been recognised or have the potential to be recognised as leaders in the fields of science, arts and humanities.
Migrants seeking entry under Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) will not need to be sponsored by an employer but will need to be endorsed by an accredited competent body. These competent bodies will be announced in the near future. It will be for each competent body to select those who will qualify for endorsement.
Under Tier 1 (Exceptional talent), migrants will initially be granted permission to stay in the UK for 3 years and 4 months. They will then be able to extend their stay for a further 2 years, and to settle here after 5 years' residence in the UK.