Immigration Minister Mark Harper told Parliament that urgent changes were needed to tackle the abuse in the Entrepreneur migration route while protecting genuine entrepreneurs. The changes will take place with immediate effect.
In April 2011 the Government made some changes to the Investor and Entrepreneur routes to encourage greater uptake. While these changes have led to a steady increase in applications from overseas, there is also evidence that the Entrepreneur route is being targeted by applicants seeking to abuse the immigration rules.
Mr Harper said that there is strong evidence that funds to prove eligibility are being re-cycled amongst different applicants and that artificial businesses are being created. He said: "We need to tighten the current rules to allow for a meaningful assessment of the credibility of an applicant for this route."
There are two basic changes:
- The introduction of a “genuine entrepreneur” test which will give UK Border Agency caseworkers the ability to test the credibility of suspicious applicants.
- A requirement that the necessary minimum funds to be held, or invested in the business, are on an ongoing basis rather than solely at the time of the application. This will apply to those already in the UK and those who apply to come here under the Entrepreneur route.
Mr Harper concluded: "I emphasise that these are technical but important changes to improve the effectiveness of the current rules. Those seeking to abuse the immigration system will always seek new methods to do so. We are vigilant and will take swift action where we see evidence of abuse.
"At the same time, we will protect genuine entrepreneurs and continue to encourage them to invest in the UK where they will be made welcome."
If you wish to comment on this article, please log in and use the Reply button below. Registering is free and easy - see 'Join Shout99'.
Susie Hughes © Shout99 2013