Category Archives: Tier 1

Tier 1 Visas for High Value Individuals

How to extend your visa and get Permanent Residence

If you have a Highly Skilled Tier 1 (General) visa – well done.  You got in before the programme was closed to new entrants.

If you want to establish a UK base for the long term, it is essential that you ensure that you qualify to extend your visa.  Most people will need to extend twice; once after 2-3 years to get a second Tier 1 visa, and then again after a total of 5 years in the UK to get UK Permanent Residence (technically called Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR).

At both the Tier 1 extension, and later UK Permanent Residence application, you will need to show that in the year before applying you continued to meet the Tier 1 criteria – ie that you have earned enough to get the required points.

Gaining points for your earnings can be more complicated for contractors.  With PAYE salary & bonus earnings, it is clear cut, but UKBA have more than once changed their treatment  of other types of earnings such as dividends paid by a personal service company, and Allowances paid to employees.

The treatment of expenses can make the difference between success and failure, especially for those on expat packages which including significant accommodation, schooling, and car allowances.  Such allowances may be included in your earnings in some circumstances but by default most tax-optimised allowance structures will not.  

Pension contributions can be structured so that they are part of your qualifying earnings, but the default treatment eg where an employer makes pension contributions on your behalf to a company scheme, is that they will not be included.  

By working with experts who understand both visas and contracting, you can ensure that your tax planning decisions are taken in the light of your needs to prove earnings for any visa extension applications, and so ensure the smoothest possible path along the usual steps of Tier 1 extension, then permanent Residence (ILR) and finally, if you so desire,  eventual UK nationality and passport.

Particularly for contractors, it is best to contact us and put things in place long in advance of making an application, and ideally in advance of the 12 month qualifying period during which your earnings will be assessed.  The ideal time to talk to us is two or more years in advance of making the application.  This can allow for the restructuring of allowances / expenses in ways that do not result in permanent tax losses, and for insurance against gaps in your contracting.

If, we have not been able to put in place advance insurance, and for example due to a career disaster, you are going to fall short of the required earnings during your qualifying period, then all is not necessarily lost.  You may well be able to ensure UK continuity by getting an employer-sponsored Tier 2 visa.  This gives you far less freedom than Tier 1,  but can be preferable to leaving the UK, particularly of after your career blip things are now looking positive.

Our partners offer solutions that work particularly well if you are a contractor,  but even if you are not, contact us and we can look at the options.  Our OISC registered partners can help you with visa extension applications, and can help an employer obtain a Tier 2 sponsorship licence and then sponsor you directly of that is needed.

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Extending your Stay After a Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa

Are you already in the UK, working on a Tier 1 post study work visa, and looking to establish a long term visa and career in the UK?

We may be able to help.

If you can work for your prospective sponsor for 6 months before your visa expires,  your extension/sponsorship does not need to rely on there being no suitable locals.  (normally, unless you are in a ‘shortage occupation’, or earning a very high salary, you can only be sponsored if an advertising recruitment campaign does not yield suitable locals).

Our solutions work particularly well if you are a contractor,  but even if you are not, contact us and we can look at the options.  Our OISC registered partners may be able to help your client sponsor you directly if the contracting / outsourcing route is not appropriate.

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Check out our immigration guides for details on how Tier 2 work permit sponsorship can lead on to Indefinite leave to Remain (permanent residence) and then British nationality / passport.

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Transferring to Tier 1 Post Study Work (closed from 5 April 2012)

Tier 1 Post Study Work Visas allowed Non EEA graduates to work freely in the UK for a period of up to two years following graduation. The category was seen as a transitional router to a long term work visa; it closed to new applicants on 5th April 2012. (more…)

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Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

If you’re internationally recognised as a ‘world leader’ or potential world leader in the fields of science and the arts you may be able to qualify for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa! (more…)

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Tier 1 Investor Visa

Are you planning to invest £1+ million in the United Kingdom? If so you may be able to qualify for a Tier 1 Investor Visa.  (more…)

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur – Setting up a Contract / Consulting Business with £50k of Capital (Turnkey Solution)

Would you like to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa? Do you have £50,000 and a viable business plan? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able! (more…)

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Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extension Applications

Are you interested in growing your business in order to apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Extension Visa? Do you already hold a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help!

Requirements For Tier 1 Entrepreneur  Extension

Within 3 months

You must have complied with the requirement to

Either: become a Director of a UK business (either new or existing)

Or: Registered as Self Employed with HMRC

Within 2 years

Within a MAXIMUM of 2 years, you must have created 2 new full time (>30 hrs pw) PAYE (not self employed) jobs for UK ‘settled workers’ (or a net increase of 2 if taking over a pre existing business) ; these jobs must be shown to have existed for at least 12 months before you apply to extend the visa (this will be c3yrs after the initial approval, hance the need to create them within 2 years). This must be proved by:

  • Proof the employees are settled workers (passport pages)
  • copy of form P11 (or, if the P11 does not mention the start date, the original P45 or P46); the hourly rate to the employee must be mentioned to allow the hrs worked to be determined from the total pay.
  • Duplicate wage documents issued to the worker covering the whole period of employment of the worker.
  • Accountants letter confirming the new posts have been created

NB The above was last updated in Jan 2012. Regulations are subject to change and may not be the same when you come to apply to extend.

Accelerated settlement: New rules introduced in March 2011

If within 3 years you have

EITHER: Turned over £5m

OR Created 10 jobs,

then you may be able to apply for settlement after 3 years.

Settlement is conditional on, among other things, you not having spent more than 180days/year out of the UK in each year, and on passing a ‘Life in the UK’ test.

As with most parts of the UK immigration system, the above ‘tick boxes’ have been turned into notional points based requirements. The points based technicalities are summarised below:

Investment in UK Business (20 Points Available)

You must be able to prove that you have invested the level of funds detailed at the ‘initial application’ stage in the business.

Investment in UK Business

Points

You have invested, or had invested on your behalf, not less than £200,000 in cash directly into one or more businesses in the UKORYou have invested, or had invested on your behalf, not less than £50,000 in cash directly into one or more businesses in the UK (if you were awarded points in your initial application for having funds of £50,000 from registered venture capital firms, entrepreneurial seed funding competitions or UK government departments for the purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business)

20 Points

Registered as a Director or Self Employed (20 Points Available)

Registered as a Director or Self Employed

Points

You have:

  • Registered with HM Revenue & Customs as self-employed; OR
  • Registered a new business, of which you are a director; OR
  • Registered as a director of an existing business

If you are currently in the UK under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) status, you must have registered no more than 6 months after:

  • The date when you arrived in the UK on a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, if you applied from abroad; OR
  • The date when you were given a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, if you applied from abroad and there is no evidence of your date of entry to the UK; OR
  • The date when you were first given permission to stay in the UK under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), in any other case.

20 Points

Engaged in Business Activity (15 Points Available)

Engaged in Business Activity

Points

You are engaged in business activity at the time of your extension application, and you can prove that within the last 3 months earlier you have been:

  • Registered with HM Revenue & Customs as self-employed; or
  • Registered a new business in which you are a director; or
  • Registered as a director of an existing business.

15 Points

Created New Jobs (20 Points Available)

Created New Jobs

Points

You have:

  • Established a new business or businesses that has/have created the equivalent of at least 2 new full-time jobs for people settled in the UK; OR
  • Taken over or joined an existing business(es), and your services or investment have resulted in a net increase in the employment provided by the business(es) for people settled in the UK by creating the equivalent of at least 2 new full-time jobs.

If you are currently in the UK under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), the jobs must have existed for at least 12 months of your current permission to stay

20 Points

English Language Requirement (10 points)

You will automatically meet this requirement if you are applying for a visa extension as you will have had to prove it when getting the initial visa.

Maintenance Requirement (10 Points)

You must be able to support yourself and your dependants without requiring access to public funds. Therefore the meet the maintenance requirement you must have, for yourself:

  • £2,800 in personal savings if you are applying from outside the UK, OR
  • £800 in personal savings if you are applying from Inside the UK

Also, for each dependant

  • £1,600 in personal savings if you are applying from outside the UK, OR
  • £533 in personal savings if you are applying from Inside the UK

(obviously most extensions will be from within the UK)

You may also like to read:
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Consulting Business

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) – Initial Applications

Are you interested in opening a business in the United Kingdom? Or would you like to join and invest in an existing UK business? If so Commonwealth Contractors has partners that can assist and guide you through the process of gaining a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa! (more…)

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Tier 1 PSW to Tier 2 General

Would you like to remain in the UK past the expiry of your Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa? Are you looking to secure Tier 2 Work Permit Sponsorship? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help! (more…)

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Contracting on a Tier 1 PSW Visa

Do you hold a Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa? Would you like to work as a professional IT, Engineering, or Financial Services Contractor, or Medical Locum in the United Kingdom? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help! (more…)

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