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Business Immigration

What is Business Immigration?

Over the last few years Immigration Policy have been based not on evidence, but on political agenda. We appreciate the positive impact of migration on the economy and society, and are happy to advise professionals, employers, entrepreneurs and investors as to the routes that are open to them to be economically active in the UK.

At Parker Law  Firm we have experience in dealing with entrepreneurs who are intending to start a new business in the UK, and work closely with a specialist who can provide a bespoke business plan.

Who Should Use the Business Immigration Route?

The Tier Point based system, is intended for Entrepreneurs who want to set up a business in the UK and have £200,000 to invest. Alternatively, one can apply for an investor visor if they wish to invest £2,000,000 or more in the UK. Graduate Entrepreneur visa is available to those who have been endorsed for a business idea.

Employers can apply for a sponsorship licence, and employees can apply for Tier 2 visa if they have been offered a skilled job in the UK and have a certificate of sponsorship.

The Points Based System

The UK’s ‘Points Based’ 5 tier visa system is the primary Immigration path for non-EEA nationals to enter the UK to work, study and invest. The Points Based System was adopted completely in 2010.

The Points Based System is divided into five separate tiers, and in order to be eligible for a visa under any of the tiers, an applicant must score the necessary points-based threshold. In working visa applications, points are typically awarded in relation to the applicant’s skill set and ability, their experience and their age.
The minimum points required for your application will depend on the Tier you are applying under.

The Points Based System sets out the requirements for migrants to come to the UK to work, to study or for some other economic activity. It is divided into 5 tiers (of which tier 3 is not in force.

The Five Tiers:

Tier 1: Tier 1 applies to ‘high-value migrants’ from outside the EEA who are investors, entrepreneur and ‘exceptional talent.’
Tier 2: Tier 2 visas are for ‘skilled workers’ who are non-EEA nationals who have a job offer in the UK. This category includes skilled workers who are transferring into the UK via intra-company transfer, professional sportspeople, ministers of religion and skilled workers where there is a shortage in the UK.
Tier 3: Tier 3 was designed for low-skilled workers to enter the UK and fill specific temporary labor shortages. Please note that the Tier 3 Visa is not in force.
Tier 4: This is a two-tiered category, for General Students, who are over 16, and Child Students. Applicants must hold an offer from a UK educational establishment which meets the sponsorship requirements.
Tier 5: Tier 5 is a temporary working visa, and is divided into 6 sub-tiers: Creative and Sporting, Charity workers, Religious workers, Government Authorised Exchange workers and the Youth Mobility Scheme.
Family members

If you are the family member of a Points Based System migrant in Tier 1, 2, 4 or 5, you may be eligible for leave to remain.
The eligible family members are:

  • Husbands
  • Wives
  • Civil partners
  • Unmarried partners
  • Same sex partners
  • A child under the age of 18

How can we assist you?

Parker Law Firm is a top immigration lawyer in Cambridge and can help you with your application under the points based system or your appeal.
The current government makes the UK less attractive to migrants in its measures to reduce net migration. At this time, it is important to obtain expert advice on the measures that impact those who wish to work, study and invest in the UK. Call us and we will be able to assist you in clarifying the complex and frequent changes which affect Immigration law and policy.

History of PBS

The Points Based System was introduced in Australia in 1979 and was first suggested in the UK by UKIP and was also endorsed by Boris Johnson. It is designed to allow the Home Office to prioritise migrants with skills that are needed in the UK. It was also claimed that PBS would reduce racial discrimination.

The Points Based System has been criticised for indirectly discriminating against migrants from developing countries, who may find it harder to fulfill the requirements of PBS than migrants from other developed nations. A 2012 study led by economist Tito Boeri found that the origin of migrants accepted in the ‘highly skilled’ Tier in developed countries with a PBS was heavily skewed towards other highly developed countries.

The Points Based System only applies to migrants outside the EU. When the UK leaves the EU, it may adopt a Points Based System for EU migrants.

Points-based system: Tier 1

Can I apply as Tier 1 Investor

Tier 1 investor is a route designed for high net worth individuals to enter and remain in the UK. After five years the applicant is eligible for indefinite leave to remain and UK citizenship a year later. As UK immigration solicitors we have invaluable and varied experience in this field. Our immigration lawyers can help with all aspects of making the application.

From 6th November 2015 applicants will need to have investment funds of at least £2m. Under the old Rules it was £1m. You will not need to show that you have any English language ability and neither will you need to prove that you can maintain yourself. This is because if you have the required investment funds, it is certain that you will be able to support yourself in the UK without needing help from public funds.

You must be aged 18 or over to use these routes and the assets and investments for which you are claiming points must be wholly under your control.
Please note that even if you meet all the conditions of Tier 1 (Investor category) there may be other reasons why the entry clearance officer or the Home Office will refuse the application and Parker Law Firm can advise about the general grounds for refusal and advise you in respect of your previous immigration history.

Your dependents may be able to join you in the UK but will have to make their own applications using the appropriate forms. If you would like further information please do not hesitate to contact Parker Law Firm of immigration lawyers.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

UK graduates who are identified by higher education institutes as having developed genuine and credible business ideas and entrepreneurial skills to establish more and more business in the UK can make an application to remain in the UK but cannot apply for settlement with a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa. Applicants also must not have previously been granted entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 1 post study work migrant or are participants in Fresh Talent working in Scotland Scheme or in International Graduate Scheme or in Science and Engineering Graduate schemes.

As Immigration Lawyers, we can assist you to apply for permission to stay in the UK under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur route) for an initial period of one year. If the university agrees to sponsor you after this you can apply again and you may be granted further leave for another year. You are only allowed a maximum of two years under this route but if you are already in the UK you can switch into this category if you have been in the UK as a student or under Tier 2 (General Migrant).

A UK immigration lawyer will be able to assist in making this application as there is a limit of 2,000 places per year and the places will be allocated to the qualifying higher education institutions. You will not be able to take employment except working for the business you have established and no more than 20 hours per week. The graduate entrepreneur will be expected to spend the majority of her time developing her business.

Parker Law Firm is expert in dealing with applications of this nature and the quality of our firm’s service is self-evident from the reviews of our clients and from our success rates.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur’s visa is for individuals who wish to take over or be involved in the running of a business. You will have to have at least £200,000 to invest in a new or existing UK company and in order to meet the requirements you must have access to £200,000 which can be your own funds or from a third party, must meet the English language requirements and have the financial maintenance for yourself and for any family members. You will have to demonstrate that you are a genuine entrepreneur and genuinely seeking to set up a viable business in the UK. This is a subjective test and the Home Office will take into account previous experience, qualification and examine your credentials. Extensive documentation is needed to prove each requirement and therefore our immigration solicitors can assist in preparing the application. After three years it is possible to obtain a two year extension visa whereby you will need to show that you have invested £200,000 in UK business and you investment has resulted in the creation of the equivalent of two full time jobs for 12 months. After five years it is then possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Common grounds of refusal include a recent criminal conviction leading to imprisonment, a history of deception, or overstaying for a period of above 28 days. The rules state that you must provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country you have resided in continuously for 12 months or more, in the 10 years prior to your application. If the original is not in English, then you must provide a translated copy of certificate, in line with the requirements set out at: www.gov.uk/certifying-a-document. Generally, a sentence will lead to refusal if it leads to a sentence of over 4 years imprisonment, between 1 and 4 years (unless the conviction was over 10 years ago), or a conviction leading to a sentence of under 1 year imprisonment (unless the conviction was over 5 years ago).

Points-based system: Tier 1 – Innovator / Start Up

The Government has provided skilled business people access to two new visa rules to set up businesses in the UK. “The Start-Up visa route” will be open to those starting a business for the first time in the UK, while the Innovator visa route will be for more experienced business people who have funds to invest in their business. Both routes will see endorsing bodies and business experts, rather than the Home Office assessing applicant’s business ideas. This will ensure that the route will focus on only the most Innovative, viable, scalable businesses.
The new Innovator category and the closure of Tier 1 Entrepreneur came into force on 29th March 2019. Those applying under the innovator category will need to have access to investment funds of £50,000, unless an exception applies and be endorsed by an approved endorsing body.

Tier 2 Visa for Skilled Workers – Points-based System
What is a Tier 2 visa?

Tier 2 of the Points Based System is the primary method of economic migration to the UK.
The Tier 2 visa is a non-EEA visa for skilled migrants. There are several types, which are explained below.

As we leave the EU, the right of EU nationals to remain and work in the UK is under threat. The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has said that EU citizens will have no automatic right to work after Brexit, although he did not comment on whether Highly Skilled Workers would be able to work without applying for a visa, or whether employers would need a license in order to employ EU citizens. Recently, Jacob Rees-Mogg (who is a popular choice within the Conservative Party to take over from Theresa May) has said that EU nationals will have no more rights than those from outside the EU after Brexit, stating “I do not believe there should be any special terms for EU migrants.” As a result, many EU nationals working in the UK may have to apply as a Tier 2 skilled worker. Read more about EU nationals below.

What are the categories?

There are 4 main categories of Tier 2 visa, including:

General Tier 2 visa, for skilled workers in a position that cannot be filled by a settled worker;
Intra-company transfers, including long-term staff and graduate trainees;
Sportsperson; and
Minister of Religion.

How long can I stay?

Under Tier 2, you can apply for Entry Clearance or for Leave to Remain. For Entry Clearance applications, you can arrive in the UK up to 14 days before your start date. The Entry Clearance will be granted for the following lengths of time:

With a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa as a Long-Term Staff member, you can come to the UK for whichever is the shorter of the period of the employment contract plus 1 month or 5 years plus 1 month based on the job start date.
With a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa as a Graduate Trainee, you can come to the UK for whichever is the shorter of the period of the employment contract plus 1 month or 12 months based on the job start date.

With a Tier 2 (General) visa, you can come to the UK for the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month or a maximum of 5 years and 1 month, whichever is shorter.

With a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa or a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa, you can come to the UK for whichever is shorter between the period of your employment contract plus 1 month, or 3 years plus 1 month based on the job start date.

How long will does a Tier 2 application take?

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you start working in the UK. The decision should take about 3 weeks.

How will Brexit affect Tier 2 applications?

There are currently about 2.3 million EU nationals working in the UK. Brexit means that EU nationals may need to apply as a Tier 2 skilled worker after we have left the European Union. However, only about 30,000 businesses in the UK have a licence to sponsor Tier 2 applications.

We cannot see the future, so we cannot say for sure whether EU nationals will have to apply under Tier 2. There is currently a cap on the number of Tier 2 migrants that can be accepted. This cap (20,700 per year) is often hit, putting serious pressure on the NHS. This will only grow after Brexit.Therefore, the rules for non-EEA national skilled workers may change after Brexit, and there may be a special system put in place for EU nationals currently in the UK. Applying Tier 2 visas to EU nationals may be the simplest solution. There has been a concerted effort to reduce the number of Tier 2 visas given by the Government, but if EU nationals were also included, the cap would have to be increased, and the salary requirements may need to be changed too. Further, the licence for businesses to sponsor applications may need to be re-thought, for example having a separate licence for EEA nationals and non-EEA nationals, so that more businesses can sponsor Tier 2 applications.

Tier 4 – Student Visas

At Parker Law Firm we can help you to prepare your application for Leave to Enter or Leave to Remain in the UK as a student. Our expertise in this field is well-known and, in the absence of an appeal right, it is particularly important to succeed the first time around. Studying in a UK university will give you the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of academic teaching while developing a large network of contacts and friendships.

Who Can apply for Tier 4 (General) Visa?

Tier 4 visas are for individuals who wish to come to UK as students and there are two categories (1) Tier 4 (child) for those who are under 17, and (2) Tier 4 (general) if you are over 16 years.

What is a Tier 4 (General) Visa?

The Tier 4 (General) Visa is a student visa for non-EEA and Swiss nationals who wish to study in the UK and are 16 or older.

What are the requirements for a Tier 4 (General) Visa

You may apply for a Tier 4 (General) Visa to study in the UK if you are 16 or over and meet the following criteria:

You have been offered an unconditional place on a course provided by a licensed Tier 4 Sponsor;
You can speak, read, write and understand English. Applicants will normally need to pass a test to prove their knowledge of English;
You have sufficient funds to support yourself and pay for your course. This amount will vary depending on where you will be studying;
Are from a country that is not located in the EEA or Switzerland; and
Meet the Home Office’s other Eligibility Requirements, including payment of visa application fees.
Conditions of a Tier 4 (General) Visa

You may apply for your Tier 4 (General) Visa up to 3 months before the start of your course.

Permitted Activities under a Tier 4 (General) Visa

Admitted students under a Tier 4 (General) Visa may:

  • Study;
  • Apply to extend their stay;
  • Apply to bring in dependents to the UK; and
  • Work in most jobs, though this will vary depending on the nature of their course and the nature of their sponsors.

Admitted students under a Tier 4 (General) Visa may not:

  • Study at a ‘maintained school’;
  • Have access to public funds; and
  • Work in certain jobs.

How we can assist you

Parker Law Firm can help you at any stage in your Tier 4 (General) Visa Application. We are able to advise you as to whether your course meets the Home Office’s criteria and provide you with a clear explanation regarding the various eligibility and maintenance requirements. We are also able to advise you on any dependents you wish to bring in to the UK with you during the course of your studies.
Additionally, we will assist you (and any dependents) in the preparation of your Application, including filling out and submitting the application form and helping you prepare the requisite documentation required by the Home Office.

We can also assist in extending your Tier 4 (General) Visa or help you switch to this visa.

Tier 5

What is a Tier 5 visa?

A Tier 5 visa is a temporary work visa for people who want to come to the UK for a short time. There are 6 different types, including creative and sporting, charity, religious worker, and youth mobility scheme.

What are the different types?

There are 6 main categories of Tier 5 visa, including:

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa;
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and sporting) visa;
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa;
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa;
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa; and
Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa.

The main type is the to do work experience, training, a research fellowship, or exchange scheme. You must be from outside the EEA and Switzerland. You can stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months (depending on which scheme you apply for) or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter. It cannot be used for a permanent job.

How long will does a Tier 5 application take?

You can apply for a Tier 5 visa 3 months before the position with your sponsor starts, and decisions take about 3 weeks.

Who can apply?

You can apply if you have a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed sponsor, are not from the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Generally, you will also need £945 savings, unless your sponsor is A-rated and will certify your maintenance.

The sponsor can be an organisation running an approved exchange scheme, a higher education institution (if you want to come to the UK for research, or to be a visiting academic or examiner), or a government department.

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