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Strange gaps in Tier 1 Entrepreneur rules

Strange gaps in Tier 1 Entrepreneur rules

  • 21/09/2017
  • Answered by Red Square London’s Immigration Specialist, Oliver Westmoreland – Ответил наш Специалист по Иммиграционным Вопросам, Оливер Вестморлэнд
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IMMIGRATION BLOG

Strange gaps in Tier 1 Entrepreneur rules

21 September 2017

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur immigration rules are, as everybody knows, prodigiously complicated. There are pages and pages of not only rules but also Home Office policy guidance and internal instructions. You would think that surely every conceivable angle was covered.

But you would be wrong. Despite the huge volume of material there are some gaps.

In one case we came across recently the would-be entrepreneur had invested funds into a UK company by way of a director’s loan (as the rules permit). The rules state that such investment has to be evidenced by (i) bank statements showing the transfer of funds and (ii) company accounts showing the investment into the company.

This sounds reasonable but when you get into the nitty-gritty it’s not as straightforward as it looks. Company accounts are produced once a year, and when they have been produced they have to be filed with Companies House, and they thus acquire a kind of “official” status.

But supposing the entrepreneur has invested part of the funds a few months after the accounts have been produced and filed? That part of the investment cannot show in the company’s filed accounts because the accounts covering that period have not yet been made. It is not physically possible to show the evidence of that part of the investment in the company’s filed accounts until the new accounts have been prepared and filed, which will not happen until a few months in the future.

The rules and guidance do not say anything about this subject and the applicant is left in the dark.

What happened in this case was that the application was refused because the evidence was deemed to be incomplete as per the requirements of the rules, notwithstanding the fact that the applicant’s accountant had provided a letter detailing the investment. The refusal decision also said that interim accounts should have been produced to show the investment.

But nowhere do the rules or guidance say anything about interim accounts. The decision-maker was evidently making up rules as they went along. Having made a kind of ad hoc decision that interim accounts would be acceptable supporting evidence the decision-maker would have had the option – under the principles of “evidential flexibility” – to ask for such further documentation to evidence the investment. This was  especially the case because they already had in front of them good supporting evidence about the investment in the form of the accountant’s letter. But they chose not to, and simply refused the application.

We get the impression – already highly reinforced by our experience – that UKVI decision-makers are not really helpful. Even if an application is a solid and serious one they typically have no compunction in refusing it on a small technicality or – as in this case – on the basis of a requirement that is nebulous.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur scheme exists to encourage entrepreneurs to do business in the UK and stimulate the UK economy but you would never guess it.

It hardly needs to be said that if you considering making a Tier 1 Entrepreneur application you should instruct a lawyer who knows how to deal with every angle.

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