It only works if you are a “genuine” applicant / entrepreneur and have “genuine” funds “genuinely” available!
Why do we say “genuine” so many times? It is from the Immigration Rules – Genuine Entrepreneur Test and it is the main reason for refusals in this visa category. Evidence of funds – can be arranged; evidence of English – same; evidence of being “genuine” – now it gets tricky (for you) and makes it easier for the government to refuse your application.
Our advice – be a genuine applicant! May sound obvious but this is the most important thing in the whole application! You have to be a genuine entrepreneur and genuinely intending to come to the UK to run your own business or to join an existing one. Do not use this category “just to come to the UK”, it is fairly obvious to professionals like us (and the Government officers!) when someone is trying to do so.
When we work on an Entrepreneur visa application, we look at least at one of the following (better both):
1) Does the migrant have past experience of running his/her own business? If the answer is No, maybe at least their family members do? Such as a parent or uncle’s business in their home country.
2) Does the migrant have past experience in working in the chosen business sector? Very often we see foreign students applying as Entrepreneurs, in which case they have to at least have relevant qualifications.
Here are some examples that work:
A student obtains a UK degree while on a Tier 4 visa, returns to their home country and applies for an Entrepreneur entry visa to set up a business in the sector that he studied and which is connected to his family’s work in the home country. For example, a student obtains an accountancy qualification here and has a parent who is employed as an accountant in their home country. Here most “skilled” business sectors work but generic things, like export/import of clothes or phones, tend to be less successful. A restaurant or a shop are least likely to succeed unless it is a franchise (Subway is very popular).
A variation of the above: a student applies to set up a business in the UK, which is connected to his/her UK degree. They have no family members working in that field but their family run a different business in their home country. Although there is no connection to the given business sector, the family members’ experience of running a business would be helpful to guide our client with running a business in the UK. The general logic of running a business is the same in any country, the details are different, for which a professional, such as a UK lawyer or accountant, can be hired from the £200,000 investment.
A Tier 2 migrant comes to the UK, works for 2 years in, say, IT sector, then applies for Entrepreneur visa to run a business in the same or similar field, using the business connections that he has built up during the time spent on Tier 2. Here the previous experience of running a business would not be important.
A foreign entrepreneur has been running a successful business in their home country for several years, can prove it with official tax filings (not cash business), and now wishes to set up the same kind of enterprise in the UK. This usually works well, especially if manufacturing of goods is involved (future manufacturing in the UK) but tends to work better for “skilled” or specialist industries. Again setting up a shop or buying/selling business like at home tends to be risky, although it depends on the case and the applicant.