Are You Ready To Face The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Interview?

Those applying for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa may feel slightly intimidated by what is involved in the Genuine Entrepreneur Test.  Especially the interview, which is conducted by immigration officials who will seem determined to find holes in your business plan.

Those who are successful in their getting into the UK via the entrepreneur route understand that their best chance of successfully passing the Genuine Entrepreneur Test is to instruct an experienced immigration solicitor to guide them through the process.

In this article, we will cover some of the most common questions asked during a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa interview with a Home Office official.  Preparation is key to being confident in the interview.  Abraham Lincoln, considered to be the greatest American President in history once quipped, “If I had eight hours to cut down a tree, I would spend six hours sharpening my axe”.  This is a good motto for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applicants to follow at every stage of the process.  The more research you do, on the market sector you will be operating in, your competitors, your suppliers, and how UK business regulations and culture operate, the greater your chance of your application succeeding.

Skipping the interview stage altogether

Getting expert advice from an experienced business immigration lawyer can make a major difference in the path your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa submission takes.  Our solicitors have advised clients whose applications were so well prepared the Home Office granted them an Entrepreneur Visa without them having to attend a Home Office interview.

Being able to skip an Entrepreneur Visa interview happens rarely.  But when it does, it is a huge relief for the client, as they know they can move forward with their commercial ambitions in the UK immediately.  We provide expert advice on writing a business plan that resonates with immigration officials, who may know little about your market and have a limited understanding of commercial matters.  What they are looking for is proof that you can meet the requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, including creating two full-time positions for persons who are settled in the UK.  We ensure that your business plan clearly communicates how you will achieve this, along with how your funds of £50,000 or £200,000 will be invested.

Regardless of how well prepared your application is and the detail contained in your business plan, the Home Office has the discretion to ask you to attend an interview to further assess the genuineness of your business and your role in it.  Knowing the types of questions, you may be asked in advance can help you in your preparation.

The types of questions that may be asked in a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa interview

Below are some of the questions you may be asked in a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa interview, why you are being asked the question and the type of answer the interviewer is looking for.

What are your qualifications and experience?

The interviewer wants to see that you have the qualifications and experience required to execute your business plan.  For example, if you plan to invest your funds in an existing company and act as a director of that company, the immigration official conducting the interview will want to see that you have years of experience in the market sector the organisation operates in.  They will also want to ensure you hold qualifications relevant to the industry; therefore, if you hold an MBA and are investing in a financial company, make sure you link how your qualification can help you to grow the business.

In your interview, demonstrate clearly the steps you have taken to develop your knowledge in the UK sector of your market.  If you are launching a start-up, the interviewer will want to see that you have adequately prepared and planned for the challenges and success (which can bring its own problems) operating a business in the UK can bring.

Can you please explain your business plan?

Home Office officials are highly attuned to spot fake business plans.  Therefore, when asking this type of question, they are looking for evidence that you wrote the business plan and fully understand the statements made in it.  Make sure, therefore, that you can explain elements of your business plan such as:

  • how you plan to utilise any staff you take on and what the UK minimum wage is
  • where you plan to operate your business from, and how commercial leases work in the UK
  • your marketing strategy
  • who your competitors are and how you plan to differentiate your business from theirs
  • how much insurance coverage you will need and who will be your insurer
  • the financials of your business, including future sales forecasts and cashflow management

What is your immigration history?

Again, the motivation behind this question is to quickly spot applicants that are not interested in starting a business in the UK, only in obtaining entry clearance and eventual settlement.

The interviewer will want to know about your previous visits to the UK and the purpose of them.  They may also question you about your visits to other countries and whether you have previously violated any immigration laws.  You will also need to explain your motivations for choosing the UK to set up your company or invest in an established business and what your immigration goals for the future are.

How we can help

Our business immigration solicitors can run through mock interviews with you as part of your application process, to give you the best chance of success.  We will help you prepare your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa application, and manage the whole process from start to finish.  Part of this will involve helping you write your business plan and prepare for an interview with the Home Office.

Our experience in this area means we have an in-depth understanding of what the Home Office is looking for in a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applicant.  We will provide you with robust advice that will greatly improve the chances of your application proceeding.  Going forward, we can guide you on complying with the Entrepreneur Visa requirements, so you can extend your visa and ultimately, gain Indefinite Leave to Remain.

OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London.  By making an appointment with one of our immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.  We have a wealth of experience advising entrepreneurs applying for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.

If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960.

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