An Alternative to Tier 1 Investment Visas
Generally, an individual who is planning to come to the UK for the purpose of investing in businesses will be considering the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Investor) categories. The Entrepreneur route is designed for individuals who want to take an active role in running a business in the UK and have at least £200,000 to invest in their endeavor. The Investor route has a higher investment threshold of £2 million but doesn’t require the ongoing day to day involvement in running a business which an Entrepreneur is expected to have.
However, the Investor and Entrepreneur categories are not right for everyone. One possible issue is that both of these categories are designed for very specific circumstances and the requirements to extend and settle in the UK can, for some, be a little onerous. There are specific steps that have to be completed at specific times during the time that leave has been granted. If these steps are not completed, an investor can be left in difficulty when they want to extend their stay and this can interrupt the operation of their business, affect the success of their investment, as well as interfere with the private and family life that they establish in the UK throughout the time spent here.
To overcome some of these difficulties, there is another category which an investor may want to consider: Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent).
Tech City will endorse applications from individuals who have either business skills or technical digital skills (or both). The experience you have must be in the digital sector to qualify, but there is no requirement that you have specific experience as a developer. Instead, senior management such as Chief Executive or Chief Marketing Officers, or someone who has experience taking a tech company to float on the stock market can apply through this route. You can apply on the basis of entrepreneurial skills in the digital field.
The advantage of doing this is that it is less costly to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa than the other Tier 1 categories, and once you are endorsed, the visa application is relatively straightforward. You can decide how long you want to stay in the UK (and pay the appropriate level of IHS fee for this period).
You will also have more freedom in terms of what you can do in the UK than compared to an entrepreneur – in that you can continue investing in or establishing digital companies, but you can also work for an employer. There is no set amount that you need to invest or type of work that you need to complete. You will also have much more freedom than the Investor category in terms of how you spend any funds that you want to invest in the UK, again with no minimum threshold of how much or when you do this. You can apply to settle in this category and bring family members with you.
For a potential investor or entrepreneur, with experience in the digital field, even if this is not at a technical level, the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category is one that should be considered.