Migration Advisory Committee: The economic impact of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), who most recently published a report recommending changes for the Tier 1 (Investor) route, which was subsequently incorporated into the Immigration Rules (most notably increasing the level of investment from £1million to £2million), has been commissioned by the Government to review the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route with a view to ensuring that the potential economic benefit of the route is maximised and that the route is attractive to genuine entrepreneurs.

As part of their ongoing review Law Firm Limited attended a MAC consultation at the Home Office last week, along with other legal representatives, entrepreneurs and government officials. The aim was to discuss the review and the current concerns with the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route ahead of the deadline to submit evidence for the review by 12/06/2015.

A number of concerns were raised, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Business Plans – now a requirement under the Immigration Rules
    • How are the Home Office / Embassies able to review and test the genuineness of business plans when the decision makers have no business expertise? Would it be best to have a panel of business experts assessing the business plans?
    • If the Home Office / Embassy are unsure of a business plan could they not issue the visa and review the business within one year, as opposed to the three year extension? 
    • Is the business plan the best way to assess an entrepreneur application, when the entrepreneur can, depending on business needs completely change his/her business plans upon arrival in the UK?
  2. Creating Two Full-Time Jobs
    • Some businesses, despite being genuine, do not require two full-time employees, for instance on-line businesses, how does employing two people show that they are a genuine entrepreneur, would it be best if this rule were more flexible?
  3. Extension Applications
    • The rules are incredibly complex and the list of documents required is extensive and often very difficult for applicants to obtain, would it not be best for this to be simplified to attract, instead of deter, entrepreneurs to the UK?

There are a large number of concerns with the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route in its present form, particularly with the extension requirements which are incredibly complicated and have led to a substantial number of applications being rejected by the Home Office (4,567 extension applications were rejected in the UK in 2014, for the same period 4,487 were granted). It should be noted that the majority of applicants who were rejected most likely had no legal representation.

Law Firm Limited is in the process of preparing written evidence to be submitted to the MAC before the deadline of 12/06/2015. We will be raising our concerns with the route, and will be putting forward suggestions as to how to make the route more attractive for current entrepreneurs and for future entrepreneurs. 

Posted on Apr 29, 2015.

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