Tier 1 entrepreneur UK visa ‘actively sought’ by foreign investors as Brexit looms


Cypriot born British investor Theo Paphitis

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Reports have surfaced that more foreign investors are looking to the UK’s tier 1 entrepreneur visa with a view to entering the country, and finding out how business will be conducted in post-Brexit Britain. London has become a particular hotspot for foreign investors in recent months, attracting more investment than anywhere else in Europe.

Various reports indicate that London has eclipsed the amount of foreign investment received by some of Europe’s biggest cities, including Berlin and Paris. Immigration experts attribute rising interest in the tier 1 entrepreneur visa to an urgency among business people to ‘gain a foothold’ in the Western European market.

Sources say that foreign investors want access to the global reach that London provides. It was recently announced that the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has endorsed a number of major seed funding schemes. This enables the DIT to award monies to companies - recognised by the Home Office as ‘available’ for tier 1 visa applications.

Tier 2 visa a better option

Despite increased interest in the tier 1 entrepreneur visa, the UK’s tier 2 visa (General) perhaps represents a better option, allowing skilled workers to work for a UK employer with a tier 2 sponsorship licence, and eventually gain legal permanent residence.

Tier 1 entrepreneur visa explained

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. Points are awarded based on the following criteria:

Criteria Points

Having access to at least £200,000 of disposable investment funds OR
having at least £50,000 from one of the following:

  • One or more registered venture capital firms

  • One or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions

  • One or more UK government departments


Having investment funds that are held in a regulated financial institution


Having investment funds that are free to spend


Having access to the required maintenance funds


Meeting the required level of English language proficiency



Interest in Tier 1 entrepreneur visa grows

As Britain’s imminent exit from the European Union looms, interest in the UK’s tier 1 entrepreneur visa has grown among the international community. Recently, workpermit.com reported that the visa is being widely coveted by South African entrepreneurs.

As political and economic crises continue to ravage 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.

However, for the time being at least, interest in the tier 1 visa is showing no signs of slowing down as Britain continues to negotiate its exit from the bloc.


Further information, help, and advice for Tier 1 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 at london@workpermit.com