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Tier 1 is the only part of the immigration regime which does not require applicants to be sponsored either by an employer or an education provider. The different categories in the Tier 1 route are:

Tier 1 (Investor)

Tier 1 (Investor) migrants are high net worth individuals, who are capable of making an investment of £2 million in UK government bonds, share or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies.

Applicants in this category are not required to meet any English language requirement at the time of making the application nor do they need to satisfy any requirement as to maintenance.

The investment of at least £2 million must be made within 3 months of a successful applicant’s arrival in the UK. Failure to do so will entitle the Home Office to withdraw the leave to remain granted under this visa category.

Applicants in this group are not permitted to be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 calendar months. As such they will become resident in the UK for tax purposes and subject to UK tax.

The more you are able to invest the quicker you will obtain permanent residency.  There are 3 qualifying periods for applicants on this visa route

Investment Settlement
£2 million 5 years
£5 million 3 years
£10 million 10 years

However, any dependants of the main investor would still have to live in the UK for at least 5 years before they can apply to settle. Also at present accelerated settlement, does not affect naturalisation, therefore you will still need to complete 5 years residence to be entitled to apply for British nationality.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

This is the route for those who wish to establish a business in the UK or to take over an existing business within the UK.

This category of Tier 1 is for business investors seeking to establish, take over or be actively involved in the running of a business. Applicants must have at least £200,000 to invest in a new or existing UK company, although certain limited categories can apply with only £50,000 of finance.

In addition to the £200,000 the applicant must show that they will have sufficient funds for maintenance and also satisfy the English language requirement. 

A successful applicant will be granted a 3 year visa. On expiry of this initial period, applicants will have to show that their business activities have created at least two new full time jobs for two British employees. Meeting these requirements will gain the applicant the necessary points needed for further leave to remain, for two years.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years.

Accelerated Route: The applicant can apply for indefinite leave to remain after the expiry of the initial 3 years visa, if the business has created at least 10 new jobs in the UK, or can show an income from its activity of at least £5 million.

Tier 1 (General)

This subcategory relates to “highly skilled workers” but closed for new applicants on 6 April 2011. Any new application should be made under the Tier 2 route.  While you can no longer apply for a Tier 1 (General) visa, existing Tier 1 (General) visa holders who are already living in the UK under this visa may be able to apply for an extension.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

This category was implemented on 6 April 2012 and applies to those wishing to develop a business idea immediately upon graduating, and who have been identified by UK universities as having developed world-class innovative or entrepreneurial skills, but who are not at the time of their graduation ( and, presumably at the time of the expiry of their leave to remain as a Tier 4 (General Student ) in a position to meet the full requirements of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.

The requirements to be met by a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) switching to leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant are relaxed. They will only have to show that they have £50,000, as compared with £200,000 to invest.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

For "exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts".

Make an Enquiry

For more information or to arrange a free, no-obligation discussion about your circumstances, please make an enquiry or contact our immigration law team on +44 (0)20 7870 3880.