October 29, 2018


The government’s recent announcement that it plans to introduce a UK Start Up Visa is welcome news in light of the difficulties that currently exist in trying to get an Entrepreneur Visa.

Currently, there are a several routes through the government’s Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, which is open to non-EEA nationals who wish to invest in one or more businesses in the UK. These include graduate entrepreneurs, a two-person entrepreneurial team or a single entrepreneur who has £200,000 in cash to invest in the UK. However, the strict criteria imposed by the Home Office, particularly through its “genuine entrepreneur test” and source of funding means that it is statistically difficult to obtain, with an estimated 50% of applicants being refused.

When assessing entrepreneur applications, Home Office caseworkers must, among other eligibility criteria, scrutinise the viability of each applicant’s business plan. This route can be fraught with challenges, such as the requirement to have many supporting documents as well as an elaborate and convincing business plan. There is also the x factor of convincing the Home Office that a revolutionary idea, never tried or tested before, can indeed succeed. 

Additionally, Home Office caseworkers do not necessarily have sufficient appreciation of the multi industries, and when interviewing applicants rely too strictly on the script. Moreover, where there is a language barrier and an interpreter has been employed, fundamental issues can get lost in translation resulting in misunderstood facts, which can lead to procedural unfairness. 

The new UK Start Up Visa creates a huge opportunity to welcome more foreign entrepreneurs. By making it easier for foreign businesses to set up here, the government is enabling post-Brexit UK to be innovative and attractive to global startups.

However, until such time great care and attention needs to be taken when applying for the more archaic Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. Applicants need to have a robust application in place to ensure they don’t fall within the 50% that fail, but rather within the 50% that succeed.



* The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. KMT Law accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact KMT Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of KMT Law.