Tier 1

The Tier 1 visa category under the Points-Based System (PBS) has been designed for highly valued migrants.

Highly valued individuals do not need a job offer but are required to pass a points-based assessment. A new ‘genuineness test’ has also been introduced. There are currently four immigration categories for highly skilled workers.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route is for individuals of exceptional talent which covers migrants who have won international recognition in scientific and cultural fields, or who show sufficient exceptional promise to be awarded such recognition in the future. They are leaders in their respective fields and internationally recognised at the highest level. Applications by those with exceptional talent must first apply to be endorsed by the UKVI for a Designated Competent Body’s endorsement. The ‘exceptional talent’ category is subject to a limit of 1,000 places.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category is for those investing in the United Kingdom by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of one or more businesses in the United Kingdom. A prospective entrepreneur visit visa is also available.

An entrepreneurial team (i.e. two applicants) can apply together relying on the same funds and business activity.

An applicant applying under this route cannot take any employment other than working for the business or businesses that they have established, joined or taken over.

Furthermore, at the time of seeking extension, the applicant must be able to show that they have:

  • established a new business or businesses that has/have created the equivalent of at least two new full-time jobs for persons settled in the United Kingdom, or
  • taken over or invested in an existing business or businesses and these services or investment have resulted in a net increase in the employment provided by the business or businesses for persons settled in the UK by creating the equivalent of at least two new full time jobs for persons settled in the UK.

Tier 1 (Investor) category

The Tier 1 (Investor) visa category is for those high-net-worth individuals who want to make a substantial financial investment in the UK of £1,000,000 or more. For applications made after 6 November 2014,this has increased to £2,000,000. The money must be under the applicant’s control, disposable and in a regulated financial institution.

An applicant must show that they are able to make an investment of £2,000,000 or more in the United Kingdom. This money may be held overseas at the time of the application, or it may already be in the United Kingdom.

If the money is not held in pounds sterling, this must be converted into pounds sterling.

An applicant may rely on money that they own jointly with their husband, wife, and civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner (known as partner). They may also rely on money that is owned solely by their partner. They must have unrestricted right to transfer and dispose of the money held jointly and solely by their partner and have permission from their partner to have control of this money in the United Kingdom.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route is for those UK graduates who have been identified by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as having developed world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills and have been endorsed by them. Applicants will be able to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to develop their business.

The UKVI will allocate 2,000 places and distribute these equally among all applying HEIs. The HEI must be an A rated and Highly Trusted Sponsor.

Our team of immigration lawyers have a wealth of experience advising on all kinds of Tier 1 Visa applications. For further information on how we can assist you, please contact us.