Immigration solicitors and immigration lawyers are well aware that the immigration authorities can make rapid and dramatic changes to visa rules, and the Entrepreneur Visa is no exception to this. The changes relating to preparing a business plan are most dramatic.
On January 31st 2013, the immigration authorities introduced a new ‘Genuine Entrepreneur Test into the Entrepreneur Visa, which for the first time brought in an element of subjectivity it something that had been, to this point and wholly objective process.
This article will answer 4 main questions:
(a) What are the new changes;
(b) Why were the changes brought it;
(c) How does Westkin deal with these new changes;
(d) What should prospective applicants do to prepare their application in light of these changes?
Clients should understand that this is a summary form of the changes only and that they should book in for a consultation before proceeding with their visa application.
What are the new changes?
The new changes can be summed up as follows. The new changes provide for the first time the UKBA to request information either before or after the visa is granted to assess whether the applicant is genuinely seeking to join or start a business in the United Kingdom.
The information that the immigration authorities are allowed to request is wide, but the key points are:
(a) The applicant can be asked for a business plan;
(b) The applicant can be asked for a CV;
(c) The applicant can be asked the nature and source of his funding (200,000 or 50,000);
(d) The applicant can be asked any other question related to the business or proposed business.
(e) The applicant can be interviewed about the business.
It is important to note that this information does not have to be provided with the application, it is simply a new power in order to request this information if needed.
Why were these new changes brought in ?
The Home Office have cited, in their statement of changes,that they wanted to protect the Entrepreneur visa from abuse, whilst still allowing genuine business persons to remain in and come to the United Kingdom.
It is also correct to note that the timing of the change indicates the immigration authorities became aware over time of how many initial applicant s for the Entrepreneur visa actually successfully applied for their extension. It is imagined that there was a large drop off in those applying for the extension and as such the UKBA felt compelled to act by changing the rules and regulations.
How Westkin is dealing with these changes?
As immigration lawyers, Westkin have developed a number of strategies assist clients. It should however be noted that Westkin operates under a strict ethical code and we will not assist those who indicate that they wish to abuse the system. Westkin operates by protecting its clients by only taking on genuine and sustainable cases.
Our main focus in dealing with entrepreneur cases is to ensure that our clients obtain their visas in a smooth and efficient manner. This is done by firstly ensuring the technical parts of the visa (such as English Language and maintenance ore done correctly.
We then focus on the genuine entrepreneur test. We do this by first asking about the nature of business or businesses that a client wishes to adopt.
We will analyse those business ideas to decide which would work for the entrepreneur visa and which would not. Where the situation is not covered by the UKBA guidance, then there remains an option to contact the Home office by email in order to seek clarification as to their views on a specific business idea.
Once We have settled on a business idea then we work closely with our client to ensure they understand what targets the business needs to reach once the visa is granted and in the three years that follow.
We feel that our immigration lawyers are very business focused and can genuinely assist in ensuring the home office obtain the correct information to make a positive decision.
One of the major results of the genuine entrepreneur testis that Some lawyers and clients have become overly focused on business plans. It is important to note that business plans which are prepared by a client are more useful than ones that are taken ‘off the shelf’ or are prepared by a lawyer. At Westkin, our immigration lawyers are happy to review business plans and to suggest changes so all the key information is included and nothing is missed.
Essentially, we try and focus on a project management approach, we work closely with clients to make sure they get the visa no matter how much work it takes.
What clients should do to prepare their applications.
The main danger for clients is thinking that they should buy in a pre-prepared business plan either from an immigration lawyer or another source. This approach is dangerous and almost guaranteed to fail.
Let us explain why.
If-a client purchases a business plan from an immigration lawyer.it is likely to be a complete copy or at least very similar to ones that the immigration solicitor may have used before. This is dangerous as the UKBA are aware of which business plans are being re-used and will likely refuse the visa. In fact even if the visa is granted, the UKBA have been known to go back and revoke visas once they notice a pattern. A similar approach was followed with student visas with the Cambridge College debacle.
Please also note the immigration authorities can also interview clients. If they do and a client who has purchased a business plan attends, it is likely to be obvious that the client has not written it.
It is therefore important to recall, that not all applications will need business plans, and where one is needed , it is far better to write the business plan over a couple of hours and then run it past a skilled lawyer than finding a less than ideal lawyer to prepare one for you.
Please contact our offices to discuss a consultation or having us make your Entrepreneur application for you.
5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
0207 118 4546