The Home Office has imposed new restrictions on the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category in response to apparent abuse by individuals and organised criminal gangs.
The Entrepreneur route is intended to allow migrants to set up businesses in the UK in order to create jobs and economic growth. However evidence from tax records suggests people on expiring Student visas are switching to the Entrepreneur route under the pretence of setting up a business when they are actually working in low skilled jobs.
Visa statistics suggest that individuals and organised criminals began to target the Entrepreneur route once the Post Study Work visa route, which allowed students to stay on after their studies, came to a halt in 2012.
Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire said:
‘This government is building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system and flout the law.
Our reforms have cut net non-EU migration to levels not seen since the 1990s and slashed overall net migration by a third since its peak under the last government.
And we will not hesitate to take firm action to protect our immigration system further – particularly when there is evidence of criminals targeting what they think are weaknesses in the rules.’
With the new clampdown students will only be able to switch using funds from a government-approved source, and post-study workers will need additional evidence of their business activities. Additionally, those who have not yet started businesses and who do not have evidence of a genuine business will not be able to switch from the old post-study route onto an Entrepreneur visa.
If you are looking to switch into the Entrepreneur route, CONTACT US today for advice on your specific situation. Our expert immigration lawyers are highly experienced with this visa category and are waiting to help you!