UNITED KINGDOM: Changes to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Category
On January 31, 2013, changes to the Immigration Rules for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route of the Points-Based System took force.
UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper explained that the changes were being made in an effort to tackle what he described as "abuse of the entrepreneur migration route." Specifically, Mr. Harper cited "strong evidence" that fake businesses were being created and applicant funds were being recycled to game the system and fraudulently establish the eligibility of multiple applications.
Significantly, in addition to applying prospectively to any applications made on or after January 31, 2013, almost all of the changes will apply retroactively to applications filed before this date but not yet decided.
Before the changes, applicants needed to demonstrate only the availability of sufficient funds to meet the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) requirements at the time of application. Under the amended rules, to be considered "available," funds must now meet the following criteria on an ongoing basis:
- be in the possession of the applicant;
- be in the financial accounts of a UK-incorporated business of which the applicant is a director; or
- be available from the third party or parties named in the application.
Additionally, applications made on or after January 31 that will rely on third-party funds must include a declaration from the third-party donor confirming that the funds will continue to remain available to the applicant until such time as they are transferred to either the applicant or the applicant's business.
UKBA caseworkers may test the credibility of applicants whom they deem suspicious. This may come in the form of additional questions as well as in-person interviews. Information used to assess the genuineness of an application may include but is not limited to:
- evidence submitted by the applicant;
- the viability and credibility of the source of the funds;
- the viability and credibility of the applicant's business plan;
- the previous educational and business experience of the applicant; and
- the previous immigration history of the applicant.
Curtailment of Leave
For individuals who have already obtained leave as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant, the UKBA may now curtail that leave if funds used for the application are no longer available (as defined above), unless the funds were already spent in setting up or running the venture. It should be noted that "spent" does not include spending on one's own remuneration.
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