Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

You can no longer apply for the Graduate Entrepreneur visa.

The Graduate Entrepreneur scheme came into force on 6 April 2012. It is aimed at recent graduates, and postdoctoral researchers who have Tier 2 immigration permission, who have “genuine and credible business ideas and entrepreneurial skills” and whose UK college or university is prepared to endorse them under this scheme to help them develop these ideas. Since 6 April 2014, it has been possible to be endorsed by an institution other than the one at which you have studied.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa is for graduates identified by their university as having developed an innovative business idea or entrepreneurial skill to establish one or more businesses in the UK.

Under this route recent graduates must be sponsored by either a UK Higher Education Institution or by UK Trade and Investment (a government department) under their Sirius Programme. Aston has successfully applied to be a sponsor and we currently have 20 sponsored visas to offer until April 2015.

This route is for non-EEA migrants who are already in the United Kingdom as a student (Tier 4) to extend their stay in order to set up one or more UK businesses. The aim of the UK government is that this route will allow them to retain aspiring entrepreneurs.

To apply under Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur the applicant ‘s university (higher education institution) needs to identify the applicant as having developed world-class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills. The applicant will therefore first have to apply to their university for a letter of endorsement by presenting them with their business plan. Without a letter of endorsement an application will be refused. See our study visa page for normal student visa requirements.

This route is part of the points based system therefore applicants are required to score 75 points for their attributes, 10 points for their English Language skills and 10 points for their maintenance.

To score the required points for attributes under this category an applicant needs to have been awarded a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from a higher education institution that is an A-rated sponsor and is able to issue letters of endorsement, in a particular format, which confirm certain required details about the applicant and their business idea.

If an applicant scores 75 points for their attributes they will automatically score 10 points for their English Language skills. This is because they will hold a degree that was taught in English by a UK Higher Education Institution.

An applicant will also need to show that they have sufficient funds for their living costs in the UK.

If granted an applicant will initially be given one year’s leave but they are able to extend this for another year if their University provides them with another Letter of Endorsement. This route does not lead directly to settlement. However it is possible to switch from this route into Tier 1 Entrepreneur, which can lead to settlement (indefinite leave to remain).

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