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How to prepare for a genuine entrepreneur interview?

How to prepare for a genuine entrepreneur interview?

As of 31 January 2013, a new subjective element was added to the requirements of Tier 1 Entrepreneur category. It was introduced as a filter for those choosing to abuse the route of Entrepreneur and leave genuine entrepreneurs unaffected. As a result of this the UKVI are now entitled to interview applicants during the processing of their visa application and refuse an application as a result of an interview.

It has now been more than 5 years since the genuine entrepreneur requirement has been introduced, and since its introduction many applications from certain countries have become notorious for their somewhat harsh interviewing practices, which have led many genuine well-established entrepreneurs to abandon their pursuits of setting up a business in the UK.

The key to succeeding in an interview for entrepreneur visa is preparation. The interviewer will inevitably use interview as a tool to test and ultimately deny access to the UK, therefore those who devote time to a thorough preparation will be best positioned to succeed.

When preparing for an interview, there are three questions one must ask.

Why me?

Why UK?

Why this business?

The answers to these three questions should ideally be covered in a business plan which is a mandatory document that must be included in the application bundle. The business plan will be the pillar of an interview and if well drafted will serve as a guide through the main elements of the business planning process both for interviewer and interviewee.

Apart from comprehensive market research that one’s business plan should show, it must include a detailed financial plan for the five years of the Entrepreneur route. A good business plan will also include SWOT analysis, analysis of the impact of Brexit, staffing plan and analysis of business’ competitors in the UK.  It should be noted that there is no mandatory structure to the business plan, however a well thought through business plan will be beneficial in structuring one’s answers.

Entrepreneur interviews are structured around the proposed business and often based on the information provided in the business plan. It has been a common misconception to assume that when questioned about the purpose of applying for the Entrepreneur visa one should mention the relocation of their family and the benefits of such relocation. As the purpose of this visa route is establishing a business and consequently running it throughout a period of five years, the answers should strictly revolve around the business.

A further tip to those invited for an Entrepreneur interview is knowing the exact financial figures involved in setting up and running the business as stated in the business plan. The interviewers will always test applicants on how detailed their knowledge of the financial projections is and if any discrepancies occur this will be noted and used to their disadvantage.

Entrepreneur applications are frequently refused purely as a result of discrepancies between answers and the information provided in the business plan, therefore being on top of the business plan and the figures in it should be a priority.

In terms of the law, the Immigration Rules specify the factors that will be taken into account in assessment of the genuine entrepreneur element:

(i) the evidence the applicant has submitted;

(ii) the viability and credibility of the source of the money referred to in Table 4 of Appendix A;

(iii )the viability and credibility of the applicant’s business plans and market research into their chosen business sector;

(iv) the applicant’s previous educational and business experience (or lack thereof);

(v)  the applicant’s immigration history and previous activity in the UK; and

(vi) any other relevant information.

The above factors give Entry Clearance Officers wide powers to exercise discretion and to refuse applications based on the results of an interview. This has made the application process significantly less predictable.

Ironically, in many cases it is the real entrepreneurs with years of experience who suffer as a result of the introduction of genuine entrepreneur test, as for them memorising numbers does not amount to the key to true success in the business world.

Our immigration lawyers are very experienced with Entrepreneur Visas, in fact we have a large specialist team.  We can:

a. Prepare your entrepreneur visa application from scratch, including preparing and advising on the business plan;
b. We can review your entrepreneurial visa application before submission;
c. We can appeal decisions if your visa has been refused,
d. And we can of course prepare you for an entrprenuer visa interview.

Contact our lawyers to discuss your needs.

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