If you are a businessperson and wish to establish or invest in a UK business then the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category may be for you.
You will be able to bring your spouse and children to the UK and you may eventually have the right to reside in the UK permanently and ultimately qualify for British Citizenship.
Immigration to the UK is arguably more difficult than ever. The requirements are tough, the law is complex and the rules and policies frequently change. On top of this UK Visas & Immigration has strict rules on the documentation needed to support applications. If the correct documents are not submitted in precisely the format required, the application will fail.
However for those wishing to establish or take over a business in the UK the doors are arguably more open than ever under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) of the Points Based System. To successfully enter the United Kingdom 95 Points are needed. Lupins continue to have a successful track record for our clients.
The following is a basic overview. Please remember there is no substitute for seeking advice directly from one of our experts as every case is different and the law is constantly changing.
The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa is open to non-European graduates to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish their business. Applications are considered when the idea is genuine, credible, innovative with high growth potential and that the graduate possesses the necessary skills.
The University of Leicester can endorse a limited number of applicants per year, from April to April. Please note that the scheme is very competitive and you will be required to follow the application process as set out below. Please ensure you read carefully through the process and make enquiries with the Enterprise Team to discuss ideas at an early stage.
Who can apply?
The programme is open to University of Leicester graduates from any degree discipline (within 3 years of date on degree certificate) who are working on a business idea. You will need to meet the formal eligibility requirements to apply for this type of visa. It is helpful to consider the eligibility requirements as two distinct processes, firstly relating to your business idea, and secondly to the Immigration Rules and therefore your visa application.
|Business requirements||How this is assessed|
|A genuine, innovative and credible idea which has high growth potential|
You must demonstrate that your idea has commercial viability and potential, that you are genuinely interested in progressing with this idea, and that the idea has potential for high growth.
|Initially by meeting a business coach and submitting a Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Business Plan Idea with your CV and cover letter explaining why you are applying for a graduate entrepreneur visa and what makes you suitable. You will then be invited to an interview with a business selection panel to discuss this further.|
|Serious intent to establish the business in the UK|
You must demonstrate that you intend to dedicate the majority of your time developing your business idea in the UK
This will be discussed when you meet with your business coach, and although we recognise that you may need to work part time to support yourself, you and you will need to dedicate the majority of your time to your business and prioritise any training and support events that you are required to attend.
|Genuine engagement and commitment to the scheme|
If successful, it is part of the conditions of your ongoing support that you meet with your business coach at least once a month and that you actively engage with the programme of support.
|Your business coach will discuss your skills gaps with you and how you feel you will benefit from the training and support that the programme can provide. You will be asked to demonstrate this in your presentation to the business panel.|
If your business idea is successful, and you are chosen by University of Leicester to participate in the scheme, you will then need to demonstrate you meet the immigration requirements. Please find a summary of these below and refer to the UKBA website for further eligibility information.
|Immigration requirements||How can you demonstrate this|
You have been awarded a recognised Bachelors or Masters level qualification
If you have been awarded a qualification by University of Leicester within the last 3 years we will confirm it when we endorse you
You have a current (valid) Tier 4(General) visa or pre-Tier 4 student visa
|By submitting your current visa, which has not expired|
You have never had a Tier 1 Post Study Work visa
|The UKBA will have a record of this on their system|
You can show you have held £945 in savings (if applying from inside the UK) or £1,890 (if applying from outside the UK) - this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply.
|Personal bank statements or a bank letter which meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules. You need to ensure that you check with the UKBA guidelines that you have provided the required information|
You have a Letter of Endorsement from University of Leicester, issued within 3 months of the date you make your visa application
|By submitting the official Letter of Endorsement with your visa application|
If you are currently, or have previously, been financially sponsored by an international scholarship agency or Government, you need unconditional written consent to apply for this type of visa
|By obtaining unconditional consent in writing from your sponsor (you will need this to submit with your immigration application)|
Please note that:
• If you have previously held a Tier 1 (Post Study Work) visa you will not be eligible
• Time spent on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa will not count towards settlement in the UK.
When to apply?
To ensure a strong business proposal and for administration purposes, applicants must allow for 3 months prior to their visa expiring in order to apply for a Tier 1 GE Visa.
Update - it should be noted that applicants to Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme need to be in contact with the Career Development Service 3 months prior to your visa expiry date to make an application. Therefore, please note that if your visa expires during March/April 2017, and you have not been in contact with us through a Business Coaching appointment within the Career Development Service then your application will not be accepted as an applicant applying from the UK. We can, however, have a discussion in a Business Coaching appointment to consider an application from outside the UK following expiry of your visa. Please note that if your Visa is due in May and June 2017 you can still begin the process by booking a Business Coaching appointment.
Before you apply
Before you apply, you must read:
The University of Leicester Guidance for Tier 1 GE Visa Applicants
Please be aware that prior to being accepted onto the scheme, you will be asked to sign the agreement in the Guidance for Applicants. Please familiarise yourself with this prior to making an application.
How to apply?
You should download and begin to complete the Business Plan template to get started and bring this to your appointment.
You will then meet with a business coach to discuss the potential of your idea further and to confirm your visa status and immigration requirements. They may give you things to take away and work on, and you should complete this before submitting your application.
Once you have met with a business coach you will be asked to provide a more detailed plan. You should further complete the Business Plan template and a covering letter explaining why you wish to apply for a graduate entrepreneur visa and what makes you suitable for the scheme.
You should submit your CV, covering letter, completed business plan template and a completed cash flow forecast (covering at least 12 months) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
When putting together your application, you may want to refer to our guidance on CVs and cover letters.
Please note that completed applications will not be considered if you have not discussed your idea with a Career Development Service business coach.
You will then be invited to present your idea to a business panel. The panel will consist of 3 assessors and will normally last around 45 minutes. You will be required to present further details about your business idea followed by a question and answer session. Further details of what to include in your presentation will be sent to you once your application documents have been received.
The panel will make one of the following recommendations:
1. The applicant and business both have sufficient potential to accept and support the application
2. The proposed business requires minor adjustments to be deemed viable and feasible. The panel will agree a timetable for the applicant to submit supplementary information and/or attend a subsequent meeting with members of the panel prior to a decision being made
3. The applicant is unsuitable to develop the proposed business and the application is rejected
4. The proposed business is not sufficiently viable or feasible and the application is rejected
If your business is accepted by the panel, and you fully meet all of the Immigration Rules, you will be issued with a Letter of Endorsement from the university for you to submit with your visa application.
Please note: it is your responsibility to ensure you meet all of the Immigration Rules and that your visa application is submitted correctly. The university can refer you to a legal agency for further advice if required but we are not able to check your application for you, and these services may incur a cost.
Successful applicants will be granted a 12 month visa by UKBA and will then participate in the business support programme at the University of Leicester. This will include monthly one to one coaching and regular training, networking events and opportunities.
Although you will be expected to spend most of your time setting up the business, you will be able to work outside of the business in order to support yourself financially.
It is a condition of your endorsement and ongoing support that you fully engage with this programme and you must make every effort to attend. Progress will be assessed regularly and the University will inform the Home Office if participants are no longer actively involved in the scheme, which could result in your visa being revoked.
For more information about the requirements of the visa please see the Home Office website.