The changes restrict the ability of international students or those who have recently finished studying from switching to an entrepreneur visa. For students, it has until now been possible to apply for a type of visa known as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa on the basis of having £50,000 from a venture capital fund, a seed funding competition or a government department. They must also have a genuine business plan, and the £50,000 must be invested into their business. However, the provision for students to be able to use money from a venture capital fund has now been removed.
If a student wishes to rely on funding from a venture capital fund or £200,000 of their own funds they must apply from outside the UK. The changes are more drastic for those on a Post-Study Work visa (a type of visa which has now been closed for new applicants, allowing international students to remain in the UK for a period of time after graduating). These individuals could previously apply for an entrepreneurial visa if they had money from the above three sources, or had £50,000 and a business which was already trading, or had £200,000 from any source. Again, the ability to use money from a venture capital fund has been removed, as has the ability to apply with £200,000 from any source.
The applicant must also show that they had a registered business which was trading on 11 July 2014. If they do not, then they need to leave the UK and apply to re-enter. Students and Post-Study Work visa holders who had been looking to make investments in British business will now need to immediately re-consider their options. If you are looking for advice on how these changes effect you, please contact us and we will be happy to arrange a consultation.