Immigration schemes for entrepreneurs 'help economies'

31 May 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration policy might benefit from taking into account trends which have helped to improve the economy.
There are still a substantial number of valid concerns being raised by businesses and now one expert has noted that previous moves to favour entrepreneurial immigration have proven to be beneficial, which could be in contrast with the current UK immigration policies in place.
Julia Onslow-Cole, head of immigration at PwC Legal, told the Financial Times: "If you look historically at countries that have led the way [by introducing] immigration schemes for entrepreneurs, they have done better economically."
She added: "The jury is still out on how the new UK visa rules will work.
"Meanwhile, Germany is encouraging immigration of entrepreneurs - that is a refreshing attitude and a contrast to the UK."
The UK Border Agency has implemented changes to ease the awarding of Tier 2 work permits to high net-worth individuals.
Indeed, there is no limit on the number of workers coming to the UK to do jobs with an annual salary of £150,000 or more under the Tier 2 route.
But entrepreneurs, even those with substantial financial backing, are more likely to fall under the Tier 1 work permit route. Unfortunately, just 1,000 of these UK work permits will now be distributed annually, compared to the 20,700 Tier 2 work permits that will be awarded.
To qualify for the Tier 1 work permit under the 'Entrepreneur' category, people from outside of the European Economic Area are required to tick a number of demanding boxes.
These include having access to substantial investment funds, being registered as self-employed or as the director of a business, creating new full-time jobs for people settled within the UK and a high level of the English language.