UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Scheme leads to Investment for Chinese Rug Importer

An investment made via the UK’s Tier 1 entrepreneur visa scheme has helped to secure the long-term future of a British-based business. Oriental Rugs of Bath, a handmade rugs and craft business, based in Bath, Somerset received significant investment from China.

Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comments:

Following the closure of the tier 1 general visa category some years ago there are now very few options for most non EU/EEA citizens to work in the UK.   If you are not an EU citizen or in a relationship to someone in the UK the only options may very well be the tier 2 visa scheme or tier 1 entrepreneur visa scheme.   It is difficult to come under both of these UK visa schemes and can take months.   For a tier 1 entrepreneur visa you need to make sure that you pass the genuine entrepreneur test that can be difficult.  For a Tier 2 visa the employer needs a tier 2 sponsorship licence, will likely need to do the resident labour market test, apply for a certificate of sponsorship and apply for a tier 2 visa.

Because of the limited number of UK  visa options in recent years more and more people are applying under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur scheme despite the £200,000 investment requirement in most cases.

New investors, Laurel and Ning Li, were introduced to Oriental Rugs of Bath courtesy of a law firm that specialises in connecting Chinese investors with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. 

Oriental Rugs of Bath sells handmade, artisan rugs, kilims, bags, furniture and accessories, imported from countries such as Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kazakstan, Pakistan and Turkey. The company also offers a personalised rug cleaning and restoration service to many grand country houses across the South West of England.

Laurel and Ning Li secure Tier 1 entrepreneur visa

As a result of investing in Oriental Rugs of Bath, through the UK government’s Tier 1 entrepreneur visa scheme, Laurel and Ning Li were granted a UK visa in accordance with the scheme’s eligibility requirements.

The Tier 1 entrepreneur visa is available to foreign investors with £50,000 or £200,000 to invest in a UK business. Funds can be used to establish a business in the UK or to invest in an existing enterprise – either exclusively or as a partner.

However, funds must be held by an institution recognised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) – such as a bank or venture capital firm. Funds must be freely available and not tied up in securities, shares or similar arrangements.

Applications for Tier 1 entrepreneur visas are assessed using a points-based system. Currently, applicants need to score 95 points to secure a visa.

Interest in Tier 1 entrepreneur visa grows

In August, Workpermit.com reported that interest in the UK, Tier 1 entrepreneur visa was growing, as foreign investors actively looked to secure a visa ahead of Britain’s imminent exit from the European Union.

Reports surfaced that London had eclipsed the amount of foreign investment received by some of Europe’s biggest cities, including Berlin and Paris. A number of UK immigration experts have attributed the rise in Tier 1 entrepreneur visa applications to ‘an urgency among business people to gain a foothold in the Western European market.’

In particular, investors from South Africa have shown an increased interest in the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa scheme. Amid continued political and economic turbulence in South Africa, its citizens have targeted the Tier 1 visa as an escape route, as they seek to invest their way to UK citizenship.

Consequently, the last 8 – 9 months have seen a surge in the number of South African nationals applying for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa.

Tier 2 visa a better option in some cases

Despite Laurel and Ning Li’s success in securing a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa, and growing interest in the scheme from around the world, the UK’s Tier 2 visa (General) arguably represents a better option. A Tier 2 visa allows skilled workers to work for a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence and eventually gain legal permanent residence.

Further information, help, and advice for Tier 1 Visa and Tier 2 Visa applicants

Workpermit.com has been in the immigration services business for close to thirty years, helping thousands of people to study and work in the UK.

Workpermit.com and its associated companies are acting under Section 84 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or london@workpermit.com