There has been some confusion during the last few months following information provided by Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes, concerning the UK’s Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) scheme and the possibility that this will be closed, or replaced by a visa for innovators.
In a Written Statement to the House of Commons on 6 December 2018, the Immigration Minister said:
We are announcing…a new Innovator route, for more experienced business people. This will replace the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route and have a similar emphasis on endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability…These reforms will be introduced in the spring.’
The UK’s future immigration system
However, later in December, the Government issued its White Paper (Cm 9722), entitled ‘The UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ which sets out the post-Brexit immigration system. This stated that:
For those wishing to base themselves in the UK to work on a self-employed or freelance basis, the most talented will continue to able to do so where they are able to qualify under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, and those coming to establish their own business may be able to do so where they meet the requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.’
What is likely to happen with the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route?
Unfortunately, as can be seen from the above information, the position is currently unclear.
We believe that it is most likely that the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) scheme will be either included within, or replaced entirely by, a new ‘Innovator’ scheme.
It appears from the information available to date that the key requirements of the new scheme will be that the applicant has a UK business proposal that is:
We are also expecting, based on the information available to date, that the assessment of the business will be performed by a third party expert, rather than the Home Office. We believe that this should lead to a much fairer assessment of the business proposal.
The Home Office is still working on the details of the new system and our specialists sit on Home Office forums and working groups and will be providing feedback on the new scheme’s design.
In the meantime, we would recommend that those who wish to make an application under the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) scheme consider doing so as soon as possible.
Nothing has been released that indicates that there will be any changes to the ability of those who already have leave under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) to apply for further leave and indefinite leave to remain under this scheme.
How we can assist
We maintain a 100% success record for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications and have been preparing and filing them for our clients since the scheme first opened.
If you would like to discuss your application with one of our experts, please contact us.