Tag Archives: Tier 1

Tier 1 Investor Visas | Concerns Over Checks on Applications

Tier 1 Investor Visas was introduced in 2008 and in that year 43 foreign nationals succeeded in their applications. In 2012 the number of applications soared and 470 visas were granted. The increase was due to rising demand from people from Russia and China.

According to a report in the FT this week wealth management companies are concerned over Home Office checks into the foreign millionaires’ finances as they feel there is a disconnect between what the companies have to do to establish the source of funds and what are perceived as the less in depth checks carried out by the Home Office. The response from the Home Office is that they are carrying out extensive verification and criminality checks and preventing fraud but these checks are not a substitute for those that financial institutions are legally required to carry out on investors’ funds .

For more information from this site on the this type of visa click on Commonwealth Contractors Tier 1 Visa Information.

If you have not got a million £s in the bank but have exceptional talent then the Tier 1 Exceptional talent route may be for you. Click here.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, Actuary or Finance Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!
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Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa | London Visa

Last Sunday evening the FT reported on the London mayor, Boris Johnson’s idea for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa /“London Visa”. If adopted would make it easier for talented technologists from around the world to get jobs in tech start ups and fashion studios. The plan to provide City Hall with a yearly allocation of 100 of the government’s existing exceptional talent visas has already been submitted to the Home Office. If granted the mayor’s office in collaboration with Tech City, the Fashion Council and London Design Festival would pick the best applicants, officially endorse them and speed their entry.

Mr Johnson said “It is a clear message to the elite of Silicon Valley or the fashionistas of Beijing that London is the place they should come to in order to develop ideas, build new businnnesses and be part of an epicentre for global talent.”

Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor for business and enterprise thought the 100 visas a year was fairly modest and stated that in the fields of technology and design, individual talent really matters. He said ” We only need to find one Steve Jobs and we have an Apple on our hands.”

Fledgling businesses cannot cope with the complications and expense of sponsoring foreign workers. According to an article in Computer Weekly Eric van der Kleij, previously CEO of Tech City, suggested the government could invest money into creating experts to teach young companies how to hire people from outside the UK. He said “You can’t change the robustness of the system or it will be abused, but you should spend the money on helping younger companies use the system.”

A report in today’s Daily Telegraph highlights that the Development Economics study estimated that the technology industry, which employs two million people, needs an extra 750,000 workers by 2017 to ubnlock a £12bn windfall. Britain, especially London, is poised on the brink of becoming one of the power houses of the global dogital economy and a genuine rival to Silicon Valley. According to Jonas Almgren, a Silicon Valley veteran, Britain needs more talent to fuel the latest dotcom boom and that means looking further afield. Like football’s Premier league we need to employ the best the world has to offer if we want to be a global player.

We need Boris Johnson’s idea for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent “London Visa” and more. The scheme has been designed in a way that would not antagonise the government and as a Conservative politician he is under pressure to toe the party line to stem the flow of immigrants. While walking the tightrope he works hard to keep people focused on the fact that we need to keep the door open for business people and students in the long term interests of the economy.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering or Finance Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!
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UK Eases Visa Rules – 1st October 2013

Last Friday, Mark Harper, the immigration minister, announced changes which generally ease visa rules from 1st October 2013. Some of the key changes are:

  • Removal of the English language requirement for intra-company transferees.
  • Tourists and business visitors are allowed to do some study where it is not the main purpose of their visit.
  • Share ownership restrictions waived for senior staff earning £152,100 or more.
  • Artists of exceptional promise enabled to apply under Tier 1.
  • Graduate entrepreneurs will find it easier to switch into Tier 2.
  • New youth mobility scheme quotas set for 2014
  • Hong Kong will be added to the list of participating countries and territories on the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme in order to further strenghten business, trade and cultural ties.
  • Some students will be allowed to work as interns under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange scheme.
  • The removal of the prospective student route.
  • The expansion of checks to ensure applicants for work and student visas are genuine, and that they intend to meet the conditions of leave they apply for.
  • The introducion of  powers to refuse Tier 4 extension applications where the applicant cannot speak English.
  • Dependants in the Points Based System and other work routes will be allowed to apply from within the UK, providing they are not here illegally, as visitors, or on temporary admission or temporary release. They will still need to satisfy all other existing requirements.
  • Special rules for overseas visitors to the Commonwealth Games 2014 were included.
  • With effect from the 28th October 2013 there will be changes to how applicants for indefinite leave to remain are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language and of life in the UK.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, Actuary or Finance Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!

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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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IT Consulting – On Tier 1 General (HSMP)

Are you a highly skilled IT Consultant? Do you hold a Tier 1 General Visa? If so Commonwealth Contractors can maximise your contract earnings AND help you to qualify for a Tier 1 visa extension or ILR!

If you possess a Tier 1 General visa you’re in a very fortunate situation as now that the visa class has been cancelled the only other real option is a restrictive employer sponsored Tier 2 General Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

Tier 1 General gives the holder a large degree of freedom however if you possess the visa and you would like to work as an IT Contractor you need to be careful to pick your steps carefully. If you go for the ‘quick wins’ and use a contracting vehicle that is to tax efficient you could find that you fail in your all important visa extension.

At Commonwealth Contractors we have developed a Contracting Solution specifically for highly skilled IT Consultants on Tier 1 General visas.

To discuss your situation with an experienced professional call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Qualifying for a Tier 1 Extension

Traditional contracting solutions (i.e. Umbrella Companies, Contractor Limited Companies, Offshore Payment Vehicles etc) can cause major problems when it comes to extending a Tier 1 General Visa.

At Commonwealth Contractors our specifically designed Tier 1 General Solution includes;

  • A professionally represented Tier 1 General Extension application (terms apply)
  • Market leading retention rates (maximise your net contract retention today!)
  • Tier 1 application planning to ensure you meet all requirements
  • European Contracting Solutions – take on assignments in;
    • Germany
    • Belgium
    • The Netherlands
    • Republic of Ireland etc
  • Claimable Business Expenses, including;
  • Accommodation & Utilities
  • Travel & Subsistence
  • Flights to a from the UK
  • Visa Costs (reclaim government and professional fees)
  • Computer Supplies
  • Manuals & Textbooks
  • Postage & Stationary

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

Qualifying for Indefinite Leave

At the moment you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as Permanent Residence) if you spend at least 5 unbroken years in the UK on a Tier 1 General Visa (please note that a break is considered to be any more than 90 days in any one year).

At Commonwealth Contractors our IT Consultants benefit from;

  • Professionally represented Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications
  • Employment Letters & References to validate employment income
  • Up to date news regarding changes to the ILR system
  • Guidance on contracting solutions post ILR

Switching to Tier 2 General

If you’re unable to qualify for a Tier 1 extension don’t despair, as you may be able to ‘switch’ in country from Tier 1 General to Tier 2 General.

Each year many highly skilled IT Consultants find that they are unable to qualify for a Tier 1 extension, with reasons including;

Insufficient earnings during the qualification period
Insufficient funds to validate the maintenance requirement
Inability to prove earnings due to the payment structure used e.g. Contractor Limited Company or Offshore Payment Vehicle

At Commonwealth Contractors our Tier 2 licensed consultancy partners may be able to assign an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship and transfer you from Tier 1 General to Tier 2 General (formerly the old UK Work Permit scheme) where a project based assignment exists for a minimum £250 per day for a minimum 3 month period.

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

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Use of the UK Welfare State by Non EU Nationals

If you’re a Non EEA National on a temporary work visa such as Tier 1 General or Tier 2 General you (and your family) can usually enjoy use of certain UK State services including the National Health Service (NHS) and State Schools, but you can not claim cash benefits. (more…)

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Extending your stay when your Tier 5 Visa runs out

Are you a highly skilled Australian or New Zealander currently working in the UK on a Tier 2 General Visa? Are you looking to move to a new visa which will allow you to remain in the UK long term? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help! (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 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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