13.03.2019 Changes to the Immigration Rules: Closure of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Category

13.03.2019 Changes to the Immigration Rules: Closure of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Category

On  7 March 2019, the Home Office has published its statement of changes to the immigration rules, giving details to the anticipated Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) closure.

In the most recent Statement of Changes, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes has announced that Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) immigration route will be closed and the Home Office will be introducing a new Tier 1 (Innovator) route for experienced business people and Tier 1 (Start up) category for those who want to establish a new business in the UK

The new Start-up Visa route, which was announced back in June 2018, will build on the current Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route and will expand to ensure that the UK can benefit from a wider pool of overseas talent who are looking to establish new business in the UK.

Neither Caroline Nokes or the Home Office has yet to say when these changes will begin to be incorporated into the UK’s complex immigration system.

Deadlines for initial applications:

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

The closure of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route takes effect from 29 March 2019.  All the initial applications must be submitted on or before 28 March 2019 to be considered under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category.

If an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain has been made before 29 March 2019, such applications will be decided in accordance with the Immigration Rules in force on 28 March 2019.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur):

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applicants apply on the basis of endorsement letters from Higher Education Institutions or the Department for International Trade. These letters are valid for three months and may continue to be issued until 5 April 2019. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applications can therefore continue to be made until 5 July 2019.

Deadlines for extensions and Indefinite Lease to Remain (Settlement) applications for applicants already in the categories:

Transitional arrangements are being applied to mitigate the impact of the changes on those who are already in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and (Graduate Entrepreneur) categories:

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Extension

Extension applications for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants will remain open until 5 April 2023, and indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) applications until 5 April 2025.

Switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrants will be able to switch into the new Start-up route if they have not yet had their maximum two grants of leave under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route.

If their Start-up endorsement is from the same endorsing body as in their previous Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) application, their business ideas will not need to meet the new Start-up criteria in relation to innovation and scalability.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrants will continue to be able to switch into the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category until 5 July 2021.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) extension applications will remain open for these individuals until 5 July 2025, and settlement applications until 5 July 2027.

Where extensions are granted in entry clearance applications, the period of grant is being shortened from 3year and 4 month to 2 years and 4 months, to bring it more in line with in-country extensions.

Contact Our Lawyers

For expert advice in relation to an application for entry clearance, extension of stay or Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), contact Svetlova LLP in London on +44 207 129 129 6 or via our enquiry form below.