Non-EU nationals who are investors, entrepreneurs or business owners are restricted to three main categories under which they can apply to enter the UK. These three categories are:
Here we look at the six advantages that this immigration route offers.
1. The visa application needs to be submitted directly outside the UK
Even though, this requirement makes this category easily overlooked when submitting one’s application. However, it is a straightforward route for the company looking to employ a trustworthy individual in the UK. This makes it easier to prepare the application before the designated individual leaves the country of the overseas business and arrives to the UK.
2. English language requirement
The English language requirement is A1 for this application in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It is easy to see that this is the lowest level of knowledge required.
True, an individual applying under the investor visa route is not required to know English at all. However, a person applying under the entrepreneur visa route is required to demonstrate their knowledge of English at B1 the lowest.
The knowledge of English language is proved in three different ways:
- being a national of a majority English speaking country;
- passing an English language test;
- by holding a UK Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD, or by UK NARIC certification on the level of the obtained degree and the English language.
3. The required level of investment
The required investment under Tier 1 Investor route is £2 M, while £200,000 under Tier 1 Entrepreneur route.
The level of investment for Overseas business representative is not specified other than the level of salary appropriate for the senior employee and the need to ensure that the senior employee did not need to have a recourse to public funds in order to support themselves and their family.
The application is submitted before the representation is established in the UK. The specific person is being hired in order to make it possible to establish the required business representation in the UK.
4. No sponsor licence is required
Normally, a company operating in the UK is required to have a sponsor licence in order to employ its overseas employees in the UK. No such requirement is applied for the sole business representative.
5. An easy route to settlement
Initially, the representative of overseas business visa is issued for 3 years with the option to extend for the next 2 years, which if extended may lead to settlement in the UK.
The Investor visa route may offer settlement as immediately as after the initial two years, provided a significant level of investment had been made (£10 M) and it was allocated in accordance with the mandatory requirements.
The settlement under the Entrepreneur route is only possible if it is extended after the initial 3 years and 4 months. However, the extension is awarded only if the mandatory requirements relating to the business performance are met.
6. Main burden lies with the overseas company rather than the individual
The sole business representative is an employee of the overseas company, rather than the shareholder. Therefore, the main burden of proof before the authorities in the UK lies with the overseas company rather than the employee in the UK.
The overseas company has to prepare the business plan and meet other prescribed requirements before starting its operation in the UK.
There should be no previous history of any representative activity of the company in the UK.
Also the sole representative is permitted to hold no more than 50% of the stake in the overseas company.
This route also applies to overseas (non-EU) media and broadcasting companies that look to starting their activity in the UK.
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