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Different UK Visas for businesses and investors – If you are a business person or a company executive intending to live and work in the UK it helps to have a better understanding of the Immigration rules.
Appended herewith are the visa categories appropriate for businesses to send workers to the UK:
UK Tier 1 Investor
This is an inward investor category, typically designed for ultra high net worth individuals who want to invest £ 2 million (£2,000,000) or more in the UK. The investment is to be made in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. However, investments companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development are not permitted.
UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur
This inward investor category is to encourage highly skilled entrepreneurs to set up or take over the running of one business or more. The Tier 1 entrepreneur offers two routes:
- Access to £50,000 in investment funds
You can apply if you have access to £50,000 in investment funds from one or more of the following:
- UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)
- a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business
- a venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Access to £200,000 investment funds
You can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) if you have access to £200,000 in investment funds of your own money or that from a third party (e.g. husband, wife, partner or investor)
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur allows for 2 people to apply together as a Entrepreneurial team, by relying on the same set of investment funds.
UKVI evaluates the application to ascertain if the applicants are ‘genuine’ entrepreneur.
UK Tier 2
Tier 2 category of the points based system is for applicants coming to the UK with a skilled job offer to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. In such applications the UK company acts as a sponsor to the employee. Depending on the route used under Tier 2, the UK company should undertake a resident labour market test (i.e. provide evidence of advertising the specific role plus evidence of why local resident workers cannot undertake this position).
There are certain exceptions for individuals who are Intracompany Transfers (‘ICT’) or if the specific role is identified as a shortage occupation and is listed as such on the UKBA Shortage Occupation List.
Under the PBS, companies have certain duties concerning record keeping, undertaking ongoing checks on individuals, maintaining robust HR policies and co-operating with the UKBA. Companies that fail to discharge these duties may face several penalties including removal from the Sponsorship Register. This prevents the issue of future certificates of sponsorship under Tier 2.
UK Sole Representative of an overseas business
This route is separate from the Points Based System. It is designed for a first, full-time, senior employee who is to be relocated to the UK to assist with the set-up of a wholly owned subsidiary or to register a UK Establishment for an overseas parent company. The applicant will be tied to working for the UK sponsor.
UK Business Visit Visa
It is possible for an individual to enter the UK on a business visit for up to six months if they will be undertaking activities that fall within the UK business visitor visa guidance rules.
- coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training
- participating in specific sports-related event
- coming to UK to perform as an artist, entertainer or musician
- doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
- doctor or dentist coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post
- taking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
- coming to UK to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business
- attending meetings, including interviews that have been arranged before coming to the UK conferences;
- arranging deals or negotiating or signing trade agreements or contracts;
- undertaking fact finding missions; and
- conducting site visits.
The business visit visa does not allow an applicant to enter the UK to do paid or unpaid work or to live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits.