Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
The UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is for people who want to set up a business in which they will invest at least £200,000 and employ 2 local people (known as “settled workers”).
Because £200,000 is a lot to produce at the start up stage of a business venture, therefore i
f you have an investment of £50,000 there may be another option.

At Commonwealth Contractors we work with experienced partners and sponsors who may be able to help you. You will need to secure the other £150,000 in the form of a loan and to get such backing you will need a detailed and viable plan, ideally with key clients and fee-earners already identified.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Requirements

To qualify for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa for an ‘Initial Application’ you will need either:

  • English Language skills
  • Maintenance funds
  • Access to suitable Investment Funds
  • You need either £200,000 of your own money

OR

  • Access to £200,000 of money owned by a 3rd party (or parties) who provide a legally attested as valid declaration that the money is available to you (or to a business you are already running).

Alternatively, you will need access to £50,000 minimum from one or more preferred sources which must be either:

  • Venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), OR
  • UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions listed as endorsed on the UK Trade & Investment Website.
  • UK government departments, which have made the funds available for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding the business.

The Investment Funds (either the £200,000 outlay or £50,000 from a favoured source) must be held in a regulated financial institution.
You will need to prove that the institution holding the money is regulated by the applicable regulator in the jurisdiction concerned (e.g. this is to prevent people setting up a business that claims to be a bank and makes false declarations that money is available when it is not).

The Investment Funds must be free to spend in the UK. Generally speaking this will not be an issue if the funds are held in the UK, but if the money is outside the UK, it needs to be clear that it can be converted to pounds sterling and transferred to the UK. Proof is usually in the form of a letter of confirmation by the regulated institution holding the funds.

In addition to the above, we advise that a suitable business plan be provided. This should identify the market/sector, method of obtaining leads, method of converting leads into sales, method of delivery, etc; it should also detail key staff (either actual names & CVs or ‘Person profile/job profile’) and should contain a monthly cashflow forecast covering at least the initial 12 months in the UK.

The £200,000 Investment can be:

  • A direct cash investment made by you in your own name, and shown in the accounts of the business
  • Input of share capital, proved by business accounts & list of shareholders showing the number and value of shares owned by each (or by share certificates)
  • Directors’ loan to a company you have becomes a director of, if unsecured and subordinated in favour of 3rd party creditors
  • Unsecured loan; not secured by property or assets that become subject to seizure on default

The £200,000 Investment cannot be:

  • A loan to the business that is in any way secured or is not subordinated in favour of 3rd party creditors (loans will be assumed to be unsuitable unless proof of a legal document showing suitable terms is provided.
  • Investment in property development and/or property management. However, investment in construction is acceptable

Uses of the investment

The investment must be:

  • Money fully used in the business; the money must be shown to have been invested to encourage growth or expansion rather than sitting in a bank account (cash remaining in a business bank account is disregarded in this respect, so if you invest £200,000 and £180,000 remains in cash in the business bank account you will be deemed to have invested only £20,000)
  • Invested in a UK business subject to UK taxation and with a UK bank account. This is relatively self-explanatory.

Switching in to Tier 1 Entrepreneur

It is also possible to ‘switch’ into Tier 1 Entrepreneur without leaving the UK. If you currently hold “indefinite leave to remain” status in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1 General
  • HSMP
  • Investor
  • Tier 1 Post Study Worker
  • International Graduate Scheme
  • Science & Engineering Scheme
  • Business person
  • Innovator
  • Student 
  • Student nurse
  • Work permit holder
  • Postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • Self-employed lawyer
  • Writer, composer or artist
  • Investor
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 4
  • Prospective entrepreneur

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

To find out more about gaining a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa or to discuss working as an IT Consultant in the UK call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or contact us and we’ll see if we can help.