Tier 1 Entrepreneur – an interesting but cautionary tale

The Upper Immigration Tribunal recently heard a deeply interesting Tier 1 Entrepreneur case called “Anjum”.  In its decision the Tribunal decided two things: firstly, that if a Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicant is interviewed by the UKVI in connection with their application, and if the interview is unfair, poorly structured or oppressive, and if the application is refused on the basis of such an interview, then the refusal decision is unlawful.

We were of course very pleased about this, as indeed were probably many others.

And, secondly, something a bit more complicated. The relevant immigration rules say that if the entrepreneur buys the proposed business from somebody else then the purchase monies do not qualify as “investment” in the relevant legal meaning. But supposing the entrepreneur already has a business and then buys a second business to augment the activities of the first business? Do the purchase monies for the second business qualify as “investment”?

The UKVI thought not but the Upper Tribunal thought that they did. It came down to a fine distinction between buying “the” business and buying “a” business, ie an additional business.

So well and good, the UKVI were wrong.

But a quick look at the relevant part of the rules reveals a strange and horrible fact. There has very recently been a small but significant change made in the wording. Now if an applicant buys ANY business (first business or additional business) then this does not count as “investment”. This tiny little adjustment was slipped in via the latest statement of changes in the immigration rules in December and did not get much noticed.

And of course this is why those who apply for Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas (or indeed for that matter other kinds of visas) must make sure that they are following the current version of the rules. The UKVI is entirely unforgiving about this sort of thing.

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