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Top 10 reasons for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa refusals

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Published   08:38 AM 9 November 2017
Updated    03:42 PM 17 November 2021

The United Kingdome (UK) is the land of opportunities, with many investors and entrepreneurs wishing to come to the UK for many reasons. Due to this, there are several routes of entry. One of the most popular way is by applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is for foreign business persons from outside the EU looking to invest in the UK. Applicants must in most cases show that they will be investing £200,000 into the business, but in a limited number of cases an investment of £50,000 may be acceptable.

The visa should be considered by those looking to start, run or take over a UK based business. The visa allows initial entry for a period of up to 3 years and 4 months for the applicant as well as his/her spouse and children under the age of 18 and can be extended. If the business continues you should be able to gain permanent residence in the UK - Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) -  in about five years.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa applications Refusal Rate 

According to the Official Immigration Statistics , the first application for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa was made in 2008. Accordingly, since 2008 until end of 2015, the refusal rate for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa stands at 31.94%.

The Immigration Quarterly Statistics show that, in the three years to the end of 2016 , (5,419) applications were made for Entry Clearance as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). Over this period of time, (2,723) were refused.

The same statistics show that, over the same period, (14,188) applications were made for extensions as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). Of these applications, (6,905) were refused.

Changes in Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa Policy

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Policy since its incorporating in 2008, like any other immigration program , has undergone a number of modifications. A few significant policy changes before Jan 30, 2013, were the introduction of Tier 1 Entrepreneurial Teams and lowering the English Language Requirements from C1 to B1. Nevertheless, the major policy change was made on Jan 30, 2013.

Top 10 UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa Refusal reasons

The Tier 1 entrepreneur visa route is one of the most refused routes that the Home Office has. The fact that there are many refusals in the route mean that somewhere along the line entrepreneurs ( applicants ) are getting it wrong. 

The Tier 1 entrepreneur visa application will be examined and looked at in detail by immigration officers, who must be 100% convinced that the main applicant (entrepreneur)  will meet the investment requirements and that she or he is genuinely able to start a business in the UK.

Our clients often ask how to “guarantee” that a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa will be accepted. The answer is always : No one can get a 100% guarantee, for the reason that the Home Office immigration officers are final decision makers. What an applicant can do, is to make sure that her or his application as strong it can absolutely be.

To help you as an  Entrepreneur who is interested in Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa , we have compiled a list of the most common reasons the Home Office give a UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa refusal so that you can be more informed about how to avoid it yourself.

(1) Applications do not meet rigid, exacting Home Office requirements :

One more general way to get turned down is by failure to produce the correct documentation. Home office officials will look down on failure to provide the required documents as being a likely attempt to mislead them. It is really important that you supply all the documents required for your application.

(2) The ‘genuine entrepreneur’ test

The genuine entrepreneur test was first brought into the Immigration Rules in January 2013.

The Home Office have introduced this test to find out whether the main applicant (Entrepreneur) is a true and legit entrepreneur. Main applicants will be invited to attend an interview for 45 minutes , during which they will be questioned about their Education , skills , background, business plan , immigration history , finances and how they intend to run the business. Applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa from applicants with no relevant qualification, skills , education , proven relevant experience or even knowledge or interest in the business’ industry, are very likely to be refused.

The Home Office must be satisfied, that an Entrepreneur is genuine in stating that she or he intends to run a business in the UK, or when she or he says she or he has been running a business in the UK. This means that the business has not, or will not, just be on paper, but that it will, or has been, a real commercial business (enterprise). There are a range of factors that the immigration officer will take into account, but in reality it comes down to the documents submitted and the answers given in interview.

(3) Failed Home Office interview

The Tier 1 entrepreneur Visa can be refused if the documents and certifications enclosed are not in the required format and/or draft language.

(4) Mistakes on the application

One of the most widespread reasons for refusal is the presence of simple errors made in the application. Whether a field was accidentally left blank or the right information was entered into the wrong space, there is a number of hiccups that can cause a refusal.

Being careful is the name of the game here. You need to quadruple check every document you send and every field that is completed to make sure that nothing was left out and that nothing is contradicting or incorrect.

(5) A poor business plan (Weaknesses in business plan)

One of the most possible causes of refusal is going to be a poorly cheap written business plan. It is this document that shows Home office officials whether the Entrepreneur in front of them is a genuine entrepreneur with the potential for growth or just a Wantrepreneur . The high rate of failures will be a fear to those looking at the route as an option for taking their idea and making it a reality in the UK.

It is a big mistake to show the immigration officers that the business plan has been written for the purpose of obtaining a visa, rather than for the planning of the business.

(6) Market Research

The applicant (Entrepreneur) must satisfy the immigration officials that she or he has undertaken sufficient market research into her or his chosen area.
When the immigration officer questions the applicant about her or his market research , she or he must give clear indication of what research she or he has done, or any specific findings.

When Home office officials ask about the competitors , the main applicant must provide a credible answer . Otherwise ,  it shows a lack of understanding of the business.

(7) Unable to show evidence of possessing the maintenance fund

If the individual who applied for the aforementioned visa category ailed to satisfy the minimum eligibility conditions, she or he will face refusal for sure . For instance, if she or he fails to show that she or he has an access to £200,000 for investing in the UK, her or his visa application will not be accepted.

The alternative of this requirement is the capability of investing £50,000 that has been collected from reputable organizations. This amount should be dedicated to creating job opportunities for the UK citizens. If the visa applicant fails to meet this criterion too, she or he will not get his Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.

(8) Unable to show credible sources of funds

The path of funds is the method used to document that the Entrepreneur has possession of the funds and may transfer the money to the new commercial enterprise in the United Kingdome. Home office requires Entrepreneurs to properly document the path of funds to show that the funds arrived in the investment enterprise by lawful means.

(9) Poor immigration history

It goes without saying that committing a crime in the UK will disqualify you for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. There are also many cases in which an applicant’s past criminal history in his or her own country has caused a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa refusal. Make sure your record is clean or expunged before applying to ensure that nothing of this sort will hinder your Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.

Also, any violations of past visa statuses can seriously damage your chances of approval. Overstaying your visa validation period or not maintaining your status can cause you troubles .

(10) English Language
Among the different reasons of refusal of Tier 1 entrepreneur visa, the lack of sufficient knowledge of English is a very frequent one. The applicant is required to prove that she or he is a national of a country where English is widely spoken. Otherwise, she or he can take a B1 test to prove his mastery of the language. The other option is to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in which medium of education was English. If the applicant fails to provide sufficient eligibility in any option, she or he will not get the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa.

What can be done in case of a refusal decision?

Having a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa refused is a stressful time and it can be hard to know what to do next. We are often consulted by clients who have had their application refused and want advice on the steps they should take to challenge this. There is no solid and fast rule as the right approach will depend on individual circumstances.

Alternative 1: Challenging the refusal decision
There is no longer a right of appeal for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa migrants . Therefore the initial route of challenge will be Administrative Review (AR).
You can submit a request for an administrative review of a decision to refuse your application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa if you have reason to believe that a legal, factual (omission or misinterpretation of the facts) or clerical error (calculation or writing error) resulted in a decision to refuse on the UK government part.
For Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa application to be reviewed, the applicant must indicate all of the elements that she or he believes were improperly assessed. She or he must specify what the legal, factual or clerical error is. If applicable, She or he must enclose, in support of her or his request for a review, all documents or information that are not already in her or his file.
Alternative 2: Submitting new Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa Application
A fresh application can be used to submit new evidence. If you can get the necessary proof or documentation your fresh application will have good prospects.
Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to remain legally in the UK, as long as the fresh application for leave to remain is submitted within 28 days of the decision. If there has been no error by the Home Office, or if an appeal has poor prospects, a fresh application may be the only remedy.

How to make a decision what to do

Once a decision is received, you have limited time to decide what to do. You need to consider whether the Home Office has made any errors, whether you have any additional evidence or information or strong arguments to support your position.

The UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is one of the world’s most popular programs . Our team is available to talk through your situation and to advise on your options. 

For more information on UK’s Tier 1 program, please click here.

Fill out our Free Assessment to find out if you qualify for any of the immigration programs offered.  

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