UK immigration minister announces changes to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

The UK immigration minister, Mark Harper, has announced that there is to be a new system of checks made on those applying for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas.

Mr Harper delivered a written statement to the House of Commons on 30th January 2013 in which he announces that there are to be 'changes in the immigration rules that will bring about urgent changes to tackle abuse in the Entrepreneur migration route while protecting genuine entrepreneurs'. The statement says that the new rules will be introduced on Thursday 31st January 2013.

The statement says 'There is strong evidence to suggest that funds to prove eligibility are being re-cycled amongst different applicants and that artificial businesses are being created.' Therefore, the statement continued, 'We need to tighten the current rules to allow for a meaningful assessment of the credibility of an applicant for this route'.

UKBA will 'test the credibility of suspicious applicants'

Mr Harper says, in his statement, 'I am introducing a 'genuine entrepreneur' test which will give UK Border Agency caseworkers the ability to test the credibility of suspicious applicants'.

There will also be a requirement from Thursday 31st January 2013 onwards that the necessary minimum funds should be invested 'on an ongoing basis rather than solely at the time of the application'. The statement makes it clear that this will apply to those already in the UK as well as to those who apply to come here under the entrepreneur route from now on.

Mr Harper said that the UK would continue to welcome genuine entrepreneurs but would, at the same time, continue to crack down on those abusing the system.

The new rules require UKBA staff to check the following before granting a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa:

• 'The viability and credibility of the source of the money' which the applicant has claimed to have.
• The viability and credibility of the applicant's business plans.
• The applicant's previous business experience and education
• The applicant's immigration history and
• Any other relevant information.

Points withheld unless UKBA satisfied that funds are genuine

The UKBA is authorised to ask for further information where it thinks this is necessary and the points for funds will not be awarded unless the UKBA is satisfied that the funds are genuine.

The UKBA will also make further checks once the applicant is in the UK to check that
• the funds continue to be available to the investment company,
• that the applicant is genuinely a director of the business concerned and
• that the business and the funds are still available to the company invested in.

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