Statement of changes to the UK Immigration Rules dated 7 March 2019. Scrapping Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa

Home office published the latest statement of changes to the UK Immigration Rules, laid to the Parliament on the 7th of March 2019. Most of the changes will take effect from 29 March 2019, but the cut-off date is yet to be confirmed.

Changes to TIER 1 (Investor) category

• Investors will need to provide proof of the source for any investment funds over the past two years as oppose to 90 days which is the current requirement before the submission.

• British banks must confirm that they have carried out all necessary checks before opening an investment account.

• The government excluded investment in government bonds and tightened the rules for investing in companies.

In future, the Home Office plans to introduce enhanced checks of the financial position of potential investors, as well as track the history of their business. This check would be done by regulated UK auditors. It is planned that this change will be reflected in future statement of changes. In general, government policy is aimed to protect the country from financial crimes and ensure that investment brings greater benefits to the UK economy.

Introduction of the Innovator and Start-up Visa

Innovator and Start-up visas will replace the existing Entrepreneur category, which includes Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur. The government stressed that the current situation does have little or no positive effect on the development of the UK economy.

The “Start-up” category, which was announced in 2018, is intended for those who are starting a new business in the UK for the first time. While the category “Innovator” is focused on more experienced businessmen who already have the funds (£50 000) to invest in their business. In both categories, applicants must obtain endorsement of the appropriate authorized competent organization. Business experts not the Home Office, will be assessing the candidates' business ideas by various criteria, such as innovation, viability and scale, in order to identify those who might bring the greatest benefit to the UK.

The immigration rules for Innovator and Start-up visas are designed to be clearer and easier to understand for applicants. Endorsement model will reduce the amount of evidence that applicants must submit in support of their applications. Rules for extension and settlement applications will be more flexible. Accelerated settlement scheme will be available for outstanding innovators and for those, who want to start a new business if the previous one fails, Home Office will offer an extension of their leave.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur categories will remain open only for extension applications during the transition period. This will allow those who already have this visa to extend their stay and obtain permanent residence, subject to the compliance with immigration requirements. Initial applications are available to submit until 29 March 2019 and 6 July 2019 accordingly. 

Stateless persons

Minor changes are made to the government's policy regarding the simplification of obtaining settled status for stateless persons. They will be able to get a five-year residence permit instead of current 30-month leave.

List of countries of low immigration risk

Appendix H of the Immigration Rules contains a list of countries with a low level of immigration risk. Citizens of these countries may apply for student visas in a simplified way. This list was first expanded in 2018. The government has now decided to add Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Oman, Peru and Tunisia to the list, while Argentina, Maldives, Trinidad and Tobago are excluded from it.

Tier 2 visas

The Home Office has raised the minimum salary threshold up to £ 30,000 per year. The exemption from this increase was introduced for nurses, medical radiographers, paramedics and secondary school teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and Mandarin.

Also in the new statement announced the full opening of EU Settlement Scheme from 29th of March 2019 with several minor changes to immigration rules, which are listed in Appendix EU. Resident citizens of the all EEA countries and Switzerland including their family members, will be able to submit applications under new scheme.