Home Office criticised over handling of Tier 1 Visa Applications

Written by: Keoghs Solicitors

Date: 13th November 2013

The UK’s chief independent inspector of borders and immigration has released a critical report of the UK’s Home Office’s decision making on Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa applications.

The report sets out that the Home Office failed to keep adequate records, made decisions based on flawed evidence and allowed a backlog of cases to build up.

Non-EU nationals with access to at least £50,000 to invest in a business and a viable business plan can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa. These visas last for three years and four months and can be renewed. They are designed to encourage entrepreneurs to come into the UK to either set up or take over existing businesses. Although the Home Office website points out that, “The UK is the ideal location for entrepreneurs to achieve growth and success”, it failed to adequately deal with the applications submitted to it.

What was the problem?

Applications for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas increased by 1,520{976169db6f22d9550bd58349ed6caacdc3c11799e572ef8ddb13772e22ce1187} over the course of 2012, following the removal of the Tier 1 (Post Study Work) route. The unanticipated increase in demand resulted in the Home Office being unable to meet its own performance targets owing to a lack of staff and despite improvements towards the end of the report period, a backlog of 3445 cases remained as of July 2013.

Despite standard application fees of more than £1000 it was taking on average 63 days for a decision to be reached on applications.  Not reflective of the “ideal location” for Entrepreneurs alluded to by the Home Office in their publicity.

The Report was also critical of the decisions that were actually being made with only 61{976169db6f22d9550bd58349ed6caacdc3c11799e572ef8ddb13772e22ce1187} of the sampled decisions for the period April 2012 to April 2013, considered to be “reasonable”. Of particular concern was a lack of evidence as to claimed funds in applications.

What does this mean?

With the report so critical of the evidence in case, it is likely that future applications will be given greater scrutiny as to the quality of supporting documentation provided

If you have or are thinking of applying for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, our experienced Immigration Team at offices throughout the North West can assist you through the process, from the evidence required to the application itself and beyond.