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Investors to turn to unconventional visa routes




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Experts are predicting that more professionals will use unconventional immigration routes into the UK after the budget failed to offer any significant flexibility for those wishing to start businesses here.

Changes to legal immigration policy contained in the budget do not make it any easier for investors and potential business owners to start businesses in Britain. Consequently, many will favour routes such as self-sponsorship, according to one of the UK’s top immigration and visa specialists.

The self-sponsorship route has been used by several migrants to legally establish businesses in Britain, and then sponsor themselves on a Skilled Worker visa. The protocol is not an official visa route but is within the rules and can only apply to roles that qualify for Skilled Worker visas.

Yash Dubal, director of A Y & J Solicitors which pioneered the route said: “The concessions made in the Budget regarding immigration policy include adding five construction industry roles to the shortage occupation list and simplifying business visitor rules to enable visitors to conduct a wider range of business activities in the UK without needing work permission. These are relatively minor tweaks to a system which remains restrictive for people from overseas who want to come to the UK to set up businesses.

“For this reason, I predict we will see more people using unconventional routes, such as self-sponsorship which can lead to permanent residency and British citizenship for themselves and their family.”

Self-employed workers from the USA and India previously blocked from access to the British market have already successfully gained legal UK work visas through the self-sponsorship scheme. The process involves two stages. First, an individual establishes a UK limited company, which foreign nationals can legally do. Secondly that company then sponsors the individual which established it in order to gain the individual a Skilled Worker visa.

Changes in the UK visa immigration system have made it harder for some investors and entrepreneurs to gain access to the UK. The Investor visa was scrapped in February last year and the Sole Representative visa, which allowed representatives of foreign companies into the UK to establish subsidiaries, was also stopped last year. Its replacement, Global Business Mobility, is more restrictive. Other new visas for businesses introduced under the new British immigration system pose challenges for entrepreneurs who do not meet the required criteria.


“There are still many professional business people who want to come to live and work in the UK who are restricted from doing so because there are no visa routes that apply to their circumstances. These people will increasingly look for other ways of realising their ambitions,” concluded Dubal.

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