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Differences between UK Entrepreneur Visa (Self-employment), UK Entrepreneur Visa (Employer Matching) and Representatives-of-overseas-businesses

The current UK visa system mainly uses the points-based system (abbreviated as PBS). The PBS system divides UK visas into 5 levels, extending from Tier1 to Tier5 (much like the US EB-1 to EB-5 visas).


The UK Entrepreneur visa we often refer to is one of the Tier 1 visas. This visa category applies to entrepreneurs who want to set up new businesses or invest in existing businesses in the United Kingdom. The policy requires that entrepreneurs, as company directors, start their own businesses and actively participate in the business management of the company. At the same time, it also allows entrepreneurs to work (only work in companies related to the entrepreneurs, that is, academic-related or business background-related). Currently, there are two different modes for applying for UK Entrepreneur visas.


Mode 1: Self-employment - that is to register a company in the United Kingdom in the name of the applicant, open a company account, transfer to the company account as low as 200,000 pounds as the start-up capital and have independent management.


Advantages: Capital are always under the name of their own company's account, the whereabouts and expenses of funds; the direction and rhythm of the company's development are all controlled by the applicant himself. As for the extension and conversion of status, the applicant holds the dominant factor. As long as the business is conducted normally and truly, the employment conditions are met, and tax is filed, it is difficult for the visa officer to find reasons for rejection.


Disadvantages: The applicant needs to face the visa officer on his/her own. He/she may need to do a lot of marketing research beforehand and understand about his/her business competitors in UK. The initial capital of 200,000 pounds may not be enough to support 5 years of basic operation. Additional fund may be needed and there will be risks of business failure.


Mode 2: Employer matching - Invest the minimum 200,000 pounds into the existing local businesses in the UK (usually in the form of equity or bonds). That company will provide a job role for the applicant according to his/ her business background or academic background.


Advantages: The job post is tailor-made for the applicant. The applicant would be able to know about local market information and the operation of the company because the company will be able to provide information. These would help the applicant with his/ her first interview for applying UK visa.


Disadvantages: Applicant has no right on deciding the operation of company. He/she does not have right on deciding how to use the fund of the company. If the company goes bankrupt, the applicant cannot apply for extension of UK visa or conversion of identity anymore. There is no guarantee that the company will hire the applicant continuously. In some cases, the company may fire the applicant and refund the initial capital of 200,000 pounds. However, the applicant still need to pay project custodian fee to his/her agent.


There is a major disadvantage for both modes of UK Entrepreneur visa. No matter you are applying for the first time or extension or conversion to permanent residence, you need to attend Genuine Entrepreneur Test. It includes several interviews in order to understand if the applicant really want to do business in UK.


We wish to ensure our clients can apply UK visa successfully. We recommend Representatives-of-overseas-businesses. It was formerly a part of the UK Work Permit and is not an independent work visa under the PBS (Point Based System) system. It is mainly for companies outside the UK to appoint company senior management to set up representative offices or branch offices in the UK. Such visas can carry family members including spouses, children under the age of 18 when applying, and can apply for permanent residence in the UK after having held for 5 years. It does not have requirements on the number of employees and start-up capital. It is suitable for those senior managers or small-shareholders who are headquartered outside the UK and want to develop the UK market. (The most important thing is that customers have the right to speak in the company.)

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