Monday, July 14, 2014

Home Office Restricts Non-EU Students Switching To Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas

Cynthia Barker writes...Just back from a short break, so catching up today! Hold on to your passports, the UK Home Office has announced new measures to clamp down on Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas, after checks revealed they were being used by Tier 4 students to switch visas under questionable motives. 

The Telegraph reports that the Home Office said the number of foreigners applying for the right to stay in this country under the entrepreneur scheme rose from 118 in 2009 to just under 10,000 last year, with two thirds of the applicants – more than 3,000 people – being granted a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. 

According to the report, organised crime gangs may have been involved in the visa scam. Immigration fraudsters charge applicants to temporarily lend the £50,000 required to demonstrate they had the capital to invest in business schemes.

A statement from the Home Office said that evidence from tax records showed that people on expiring Tier 4 student visas were transferring to entrepreneur status on the basis of setting up a business, when in reality they are working in low skilled jobs.

With the new clampdown, students will only be able to switch using funds from a government-approved source, and post-study workers will need additional evidence of their business activities.

In addition, those who have not yet started businesses and who do not have evidence of a genuine business will not be able to switch from the old post-study route onto an entrepreneur visa.

Immigration Adviser Cynthia Barker of Concept Care Solutions said the scheme has proved popular with students who often have no option but to start a business in order to remain in the UK.

“Over the last couple of years I have been approached by a number of students or post study work visa holders looking to start a business and switch to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.

“The visa process was not as easy as the newspapers make out, as the Home Office asked a lot of questions about the business plan and we had to appeal for one applicant, despite being a genuinely good case.

“The government launched the scheme to attract people to start businesses and invest in the UK, which is what the scheme has achieved. Just because a student is currently in a low skilled job, it doesn't mean they cannot start a business – Richard Branson was a student when he started out in business!”

Recent Home Office statistics show that 24,641 non-EEA partner visas were issued to in 2013. This as a decrease of 6,847 (22%) from the 31,508 partner visas issued in 2012.

Home Office statistics show that, in the period from 1 November 2012 to 30 September 2013, 34 settlement visas were issued to an adult dependent relative under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules.

The APPG on Migration published the final report in June of an inquiry into the impacts of the family migration rules, chaired by Baroness Hamwee. The inquiry received evidence from over 280 sources, which collectively suggested that a broad range of British citizens and permanent residents had been affected by the rules.

Source: Migrants Rights network and an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Migration, which met this month.

If you have been affected by changes or need advice on any immigration matter, including overstaying your visa, EU or UK immigration law, or want to appeal against a refusal, call Cynthia Barker on 07850 307687 or 0208 731 5972 or email her your details to Cynthia Barker is a qualified OISC Registered Immigration Adviser, with 15 years experience in immigration matters, with a team of Level 3 Immigration Law Practitioners, Concept Care Solutions, Middlesex House, 29-45 High Street, Edgware, HA8 7UU.

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