The Home Office recently added a new visa option to assist student migrants to remain in the UK for the purpose of developing their business ideas.
The UKBA introduced a category called the Tier 4 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme for recent graduates who have been endorsed by a recognised UK education institution in order to further their business plans in the UK.
The purpose of this route is to encourage the greater growth and prospect of new start-up businesses in the UK.
The initial visa application
The initial application requires the recent graduate to be in the UK and to have completed a degree or higher course at a recognised Tier 4 UK educational institution, who must hold ”Highly Trusted Sponsor” status.
For this reason, the UKBA has opened this scheme to all Higher Education Institution which are Highly Trusted Sponsors for the purpose of Tier 4 of the Points Based System.
This educational institution will need to be involved with the graduate entrepreneur by ensuring they continue contact with them and to assess any progression regularly (often quarterly) to ensure the graduate is still participating in actively developing their business.
Although there are only 1000 places per year, the Home Office have allowed the educational institutions to decide which candidates would be most suitable for a place.
Those who are successful will be able to obtain a graduate entrepreneur visa for a year, upon which, a further and final extension of another year will be granted, so long as the educational institution is satisfied with the candidate’s progress so far.
Once the visa is approved
Upon obtaining the visa, the graduate entrepreneur will be required to fulfil a number of conditions as part of their visa requirements:
– The applicant will need to dedicate full time in developing their business, with their progress regularly assessed by the sponsoring educational institution
– The applicant may partake in additional part-time work for up to 20 hours a week
– The applicant may be eligible to bring over their dependents, so long as they can demonstrate sufficient financial maintenance
Similar to the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work), the graduate entrepreneur visa does not count towards the qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
After the two years
When the end of the final second year is approaching, graduate entrepreneurs should be looking to extend their visa in the UK to continue their business venture.
The graduate entrepreneur could consider the normal Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or to explore potential other avenues to remain.
For those switching to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route from the graduate entrepreneur visa, the Home Office have allowed for a concession investment amount, which is from £200,000 to £50,000. This concession is also applicable for those on the Tier 1 (Post-study work) visa category who have set up their own company in the UK.
For further information on the graduate entrepreneur visa category, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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