On the 16th March 2011, at the London Stock Exchange hall, UK’s Immigration Minister, Damian Green, addressed a houseful of international journalists and broadcasters, “Today I have sent out a clear message: the UK remains open for business and we want those who have the most to offer to come and settle here. Entrepreneurs and investors can play a major role in our economic recovery and I want to do everything I can to ensure that Britain remains an attractive destination for them. Last year we issued far too few visas to those who wish to set up a business or invest in the UK. I intend to change that.”
Under the new rules, those who come to the UK and invest large sums of money will be given the right to settle permanently and faster in the UK. Those with 5 million sterling to invest will be allowed to settle here after 3 years and those with 10 million sterling or more, will be allowed to settle after two. Moreover, entrepreneurs who create ten jobs or more, will also be allowed to settle within 3 years.
A new ‘visit’ visa system will also be created for prospective entrepreneurs, which will allow them to enter the UK in order to secure their funding and make arrangements for starting their business before they transfer onto a full UK entrepreneur visa.
While the standard investment threshold for an entrepreneur to qualify for a visa will remain at Sterling 200,000, the government will also make provision for high potential businesses to come to the UK with Sterling 50,000 in funding from reputable approved organizations.
Major investors will also enjoy more flexibility as they will be allowed to have spent up to 180 days a year, rather than the 90, outside of the UK before they lose their right to settlement. This addresses a major concern that investors often cite as they need to be constantly mobile. Those investors who are already in the UK now and have invested large sums will also qualify for accelerated settlement.
Separately, the government has also published a statement o policy outlining how the new ‘exceptional talent’ route under Tier One of the Points Based System will operate from April this year. This new innovative route for exceptionally talented migrants, which will be limited to 1,000 visas under the annual limit, will facilitate those who have already been recognized or have the potential to be recognized as a leader in the fields of science, arts and humanities.
Migrants seeking entry under the Tier One Exceptional Talent category will not need to be sponsored by an employer but will need to be endorsed by an accredited competent body. It will be for each body, which will be announced in the near future, to select those who will qualify for endorsement.
Those admitted under the Tier One Exceptional Talent category will initially be granted three years and four months leave. They will be able to extend their stay for a further two years and settlement will be available after five years residence in the UK. Many are likely to live in the capital.
The Immigration Minister added: “Our new exceptional talent route will ensure that we continue to allow the brightest and the best who can make a valued contribution to the UK. This comes at a time of major reform to the migration system to bring net immigration back down to the tens of thousands.”
The UK government has made clear its commitment to supporting a private sector led economic recovery. For growth to be strong and sustainable, the economy must be rebalanced to support private sector jobs, exports and investment. UKT1 will ensure that would-be entrepreneurs across the world will be made aware of this new initiative, which will attract someone with a bright idea to start a business. UKT1 will use their entrepreneur networks and marketing channels to ensure that the news about the new Entrepreneur Visa is heard across the globe.