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UK offers fast track for immigration
21/03/2011

Foreign entrepreneurs and investors are being given an extra incentive to come to the UK by new visa rules, which will reward those who contribute to economic growth.

Under changes to the Immigration Rules, people who come to the UK under Tier 1 (Investor) of the points-based system will be able to settle in the UK faster if they invest large sums of money. Those who invest £5 million will be allowed to settle after 3 years, and those investing £10 million or more will be allowed to settle after 2 years. This compares with the current minimum 5-year requirement.

The right to accelerated settlement will apply to those investors who are already in the UK and have invested large sums, as well as new arrivals.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants will also be able to settle in the UK more quickly if they create 10 jobs or turn over £5 million in a 3-year period.

The standard investment threshold for an entrepreneur to qualify for a Tier 1 visa will remain at £200,000, but the government will allow high-potential businesses to come to the UK with £50,000 in funding from a reputable organisation. And entrepreneurs will be allowed to enter the UK with their business partners as long as they have access to joint funds.

Major investors will also enjoy more flexibility: they will be allowed to spend up to 180 days per year, rather than 90, outside the UK without affecting their right to settle in the UK. This addresses a major concern cited by investors, as they need to be constantly mobile.

Additionally, a new type of visitor visa will be created for prospective entrepreneurs. They will be allowed to enter the UK so that they can secure funding and make arrangements for starting their business before they transfer to a full Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa while they are there.