Tier 1: an overview
There are five relevant Tier 1 streams: General, Post Study Work (PSW), Exceptional Talent, Investor, and Entrepreneur.
- Tier 1 General was closed to new applicants in April 2011. Existing holders of Tier 1 General are still able to apply to extend their visa for further periods of three or two years, dependant on the initial period granted. Tier 1 General holders become eligible to apply for settlement after 5 years, though it should be noted that 2012 legislation introduced a Points Score requirement in moving from Tier 1 General to Settlement.
- Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) was closed in April 2012. Applicants cannot extend their time in the UK under this category, but can transfer to a different visa within Tier 1 or alternatively, to Tier 2 if they are able to secure a sponsor.
- Tier 1 Exceptional Talent was opened in August 2011, and is aimed at those who are internationally recognised as world leaders, or potential world leaders, in the sciences or arts. There is a limit of 1 000 places under this route, per year.
- Tier 1 Investor requires a minimum investment of one million pounds within the UK. It results in settlement after five years, or as little as two years if a greater amount is invested.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur is a route that is being actively promoted and encouraged by the UK Government. It is attractive and achievable to many who are interested in living and working in the UK.
- The required investment is a minimum of £200 000. However, it should be noted that two applicants can come together as a 'team' and pool this amount of money between the two of them.
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur is initially granted for three years, after which applicants may apply for an extension of a further two years
- In order to qualify for an extension after the initial three year period, applicants must be able to show that the required amount of money has indeed been invested, and that a minimum of two new jobs resulted from their business activities.
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur holders become eligible to apply for settlement after five years, or three years under the accelerated route.
- Dependants of Tier 1 Entrepreneur have the right to live and work in the UK
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur holders may spend as much as six months of the year outside the UK
- The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route was introduced in April 2012. This lowers the minimum investment when switching in to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category from £200 000, as above, to £50 000. Your application must be endorsed by an approved UK Higher Education Institution, and you need to apply within one year of your qualification being awarded. From April 2013, there is a limit for this route of 2000 places per year.
- At White Rose Visas, we take an integrated approach to your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application, on the basis of our team's expertise in bringing together immigration and business questions. We can advise on the types of investment that both satisfy UKBA requirements and which meet your financial targets. We can assist with business planning; applicants should note that from early 2013 the UKBA now takes much more of an interest in the detail and viability of applicant's business plans and market research. By considering immigration and business strategy together from the outset, the applicant is well placed to successfully navigate their Entrepreneur Extension visa, and on to settlement and, if desired, British Citizenship.