Business Immigration

Sterling & Law Associates LLP specialise in the business immigration cases, in particular, those involving applications under Tier 1 Visa category.

There are two main types of visa available for those looking to immigrate for business reasons:

  • Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, and
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa.

Our immigration law firm was founded in London back in 2009, since then we have attained a great track record of assisting our clients in a range of immigration and visa related cases. We provide all of our clients with a high-level of support, along with solutions on any potential problems that may occur along the way.

We hold Level 3 registration with the OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner). Our high-level registration allows us to take on and work with the most complex immigration cases.

Business Immigration to the UK

It is important to ensure that you have the correct permission to enter and remain in the United Kingdom. We help a large range of high-net worth individuals to obtain an appropriate permission to travel to and remain in the UK for business and investment purposes.

We represent corporate and individual clients setting their business presence in the UK.

Tier 1 (Investor) visa –  Overview

This route will suit a high net-worth individual who wishes to apply for a residency visa in the UK by way of investing £2,000, 000 or more in the UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in an active and trading UK registered companies.

This visa also gives the flexibility to the individual as he or she can work or study in the UK throughout the validity of the visa.

Initial application eligibility

There are several requirements to be met for this application:

  • By providing documentary evidence of having at least £2 million of one’s own money held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the UK;
  • From 06/04/2015, all applicants must have a UK regulated investment bank account before making their initial application – we can assist you with this arrangement
  • There is no English language requirement or maintenance requirements for the applicant and dependents
  • However, you and dependents above 18 years old will be required to submit a criminal record certificate and tuberculosis test results depending on where you will be applying –  our caseworker will be able to advise you in detail

Your eligibility to apply within the UK or outside the UK depends highly on your current UK immigration status.

Investments and source of funding

The money should be held in the bank account for 3 months prior to application. If the money has been held in the bank account or portfolio for less than 3 months, then it is necessary to give specified evidence of the source of the money.

The source of funding, in this case, can be one of the following:

  • Gift
  • Sale deed
  • Evidence from a business
  • Will
  • Divorce Settlement
  • Award or winnings

The minimum initial investment required is £2 million, however, higher investment is required if you would like to gain permanent resident status quicker. The 3 level of investment are as follow:

  • £2 million and more
  • £5 million and more
  • £10 million and more

At least £2 million must be invested in the UK by way of the UK Government bonds, share capital in active and trading UK registered companies within 3 months of the specified date.  The specified date depends if you applied for your visa in the UK or abroad. If you were granted Entry Clearance as a Tier 1 (Investor) then your specified date is your date of entry to the UK. If you were granted Leave to Remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) then your specified date is the date your leave to remain is granted.

Money should be disposable in the UK which means that it is held in a UK based financial institution or, if held outside the UK, it must be freely transferable to the UK and convertible to sterling. It can include money belonging to the applicant’s spouse, civil partner or unmarried or same-sex partner, provided that the specified documents are provided.

The application will be refused if the British Embassy/Home Office has reasonable grounds that:

  • The applicant is not in control of the funds;
  • The funds were obtained unlawfully;
  • The character, conduct or associations of a party providing the funds mean that approving the application is not conducive to public good.

Criminal record certificates

Main applicants and dependants who are aged 18 or over who are applying for enry clearance in the category will be required to submit with their applications one or more overseas criminal record certificates. This/these will be required for each country (excluding the UK) in which such applicants have resided continuously for 12 months or more in the last 10 years (since they were aged 18 or over).

Dependants

Spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners and same-sex partners who are aged 18 or over may apply as the dependant of a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant. Children, provided they are under the age of 18 at the time of their initial application as a dependant, may also apply.

Partners and minor children of Tier 1 (Investor) migrants who are living in the UK in their own immigration category are able to apply for leave to remain as the dependant of a PBS migrant (unless they are currently in a visitor category, or have temporary admission or release).

Note that there is no English-language or maintenance requirement for the dependants of Tier 1 (Investor) migrants. However, any dependant who is between the ages of 18 and 65 will need to pass the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement before they can apply for ILR, unless they suffer from a mental or physical condition which means that it would not be reasonable to expect them to fulfil the requirement. As noted above, most partners will be required to submit one or more criminal record certificates when applying for entry clearance.

Visa validity

Once approved, the visa granted will be valid for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months. You will be required to extend this visa for another 2 years if you are not going through the accelerated route.

Timing

Application can be submitted up to 3 months before the date of travel to the UK.

Decision on the visa is taken within 3 weeks.

Application Fees

Applications made outside/from the UK –  £1,530 (per person)

Super premium service (to apply or extend in person): a one-off fee of £8,750, plus £2,030 for each person applying.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa & Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa

Overview of requirements:

  • £200,000 required to invest
  • Must be invested in a new or existing UK company
  • Investment must lead to two full-time jobs being created
  • In addition to your investment, you should have enough money to support yourself and any dependents in the UK

If you’re not a EU citizen, one way in which to secure a visa in order to live and work in the UK is to go down the entrepreneurship route. You must be able to prove that you have at least £200,000 to invest in a new or existing business – this investment must lead to at least two full-time jobs being created for existing UK residents.

If you don’t have that sum of money personally, funds made available via friends, family and external investors may also be considered as a part of your visa application. If you need to come to the UK in order to arrange funding, you can apply for a prospective entrepreneur visa, allowing you time in the UK to get your affairs in order.

Most entrepreneur business visa applications (with some exceptions) are filed from the individual’s country of origin (ie, not in the UK itself). Along with having funds available to invest in a new or existing business, you must also be able to demonstrate your ability to support yourself and your family financially, when you move to the UK. You must also be able to demonstrate a level of understanding of the English language, before your application will be accepted.

In addition to Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas, we can also guide qualifying individuals through the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa application process. This visa scheme is open to 2,000 individuals each year; it is designed for individuals wishing to start one or more businesses in the UK.

It’s fair to say that the entrepreneur visa application process isn’t straightforward – so if you require expert advice and guidance through the process, we can help you.