For most busy, creative entrepreneurs, writing a business plan is a necessary evil. Working out your future business plans and how you will achieve them is exciting; spending hours drafting a document is not.
However, if you are planning to apply for a tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa your business plan will be a vital document. To enter the UK via the entrepreneur route, applicants must pass the Genuine Entrepreneur Test. At present, around 50% of applicants fail.
The Genuine Entrepreneur Test was set up in 2013 to ensure those applying for a tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa were sincere in their plans to start or invest in a UK business and had the knowledge and skills required to do so.
The business plan is one way the Home Office can assess an entrepreneur’s commitment, expertise and ability to contribute to the UK economy in a way that justifies them being granted a tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.
But what do Home Office officials look for in a business plan designed for the Genuine Entrepreneur Test? And how can an experienced immigration lawyer provide the best advice and London-based contacts to ensure your business plan is up to scratch?
A standard business plan and an Entrepreneur Visa business plan – key differences
For any entrepreneur, a standard business plan is a key document. It sets out your vision for the company, sales, turnover and profit projections, market analysis and future objectives.
A standard business plan is essential for providing a framework as to how to achieve your business goals. It also gives clarity and confidence to potential lenders and investors.
But it is unlikely to impress immigration officials much.
These requirements include:
- you can and will establish, take over or become a director of one or more businesses in the UK within six months of being granted entry to the UK under the Entrepreneur Visa route
- the required funds (£200,000 or £50,000) is genuinely available to you and will remain so until it is invested in a start-up or existing company
- you do not intend to take employment in the UK other than working in your business
- you have enough money to support yourself, so you do not have to rely on public funds
- you have the required knowledge of English
These are the basic requirements. A successful tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa plan provides even more information, designed to convince Home Office that your venture can provide full-time employment to two persons ‘settled’ in the UK. In this context, ‘settled’ refers to British Citizens or anyone else who is not subject to immigration controls (i.e., someone who has Indefinite Leave to Remain status). Full-time is defined by the Home Office as 30 hours per week.
The Home Office will also use your Entrepreneur Visa business plan to establish the viability of your experience and knowledge of the UK market sector in which your business will operate. To satisfy this, your business plan will need to show:
- your experience in working in the industry
- the credibility and breadth of your market research
- your academic qualifications which are relevant to your market
- your experience in working in the UK in the sector you plan to launch your business in
For example, if you have spent time the UK working in you chosen sector on a Tier 2 (General) Visa or a Tier 2 (Intra-company) Transfer Visa it is imperative that you mention this in your business plan. It can act as proof that you understand the UK market you plan to sell your goods/services in.
The best Entrepreneur Visa lawyers recommend that the business plan you use to pass the Genuine Entrepreneur Test reflects that you have researched your proposed business in depth. You need to demonstrate to the Home Office that you know who your customers, suppliers, and competitors will be.
To achieve this, ideally your business plan will provide:
- a description of your business, its products, and services
- what your investment funds (£200,000 or £50,000 will be spent on)
- a financial forecast for the next three years
- your previous experience and qualifications in related industries
- comprehensive market research, including a SWOT analysis
- who your customers will be and a marketing plan for reaching them
- your prices
- where your business will be based and details of the commercial lease
- what licences and professional registrations you will need
- your staff, and their roles within the business (this should include a plan for employing two ‘settled’ people)
- your professional advisors such as accountants, lawyers
Make sure that any figures, experience, and qualifications you give are accurate, consistent and match up with the documentation you provide to accompany your application.
How OTS Solicitors can help with an Entrepreneur Visa business plan
One of the biggest mistakes a tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa applicant can make is to copy a business plan from the internet. Home Office officials are very much aware of such practices and will spot this immediately. In such circumstances, your application is likely to be rejected.
Our immigration Solicitors can work with experienced business plan writers, tax advisers and accountants to put together a business plan at a cost effective price. It will be drafted to give you the best chance of passing the Genuine Entrepreneur Test. In one recent case, our applicant skipped the interview stage of the application process all together because of the strength of the business plan we provided.
Our immigration lawyers understand what Home Office officials are looking for in an Entrepreneur Visa business plan. By entrusting the drafting of the document to us, your application for a tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa has a strong chance of success.
"In one recent case, our applicant skipped the interview stage of the application process all together because of the strength of the business plan we provided."
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. Our business immigration solicitors, Teni Shahiean, Oshin Shahiean, and Dr. Lusine Navasardyan, have extensive experience in assisting entrepreneurs to create tailored business plans and pass the Genuine Entrepreneur Test.
If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 020 7936 9960 or contact us online.
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Posted on: Wednesday, 03 May, 2017