UK open to South African entrepreneurs

UK open to South African entrepreneurs

In the wake of Brexit, entrepreneurial skills, a financial investment and a commitment to create employment, offer an attractive route to South Africans keen to acquire British residency and citizenship.

An innovative programme by the British Home Office, which encourages foreign investment in the UK, aims to match demand for British citizenship with solid return-generating investments in pre-approved businesses in the UK.

According to Sable Group MD, Gary Kockott, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Investment Programme, would be a viable option for anyone looking to sell off their assets in their home country and immigrate to the UK.

“This bespoke UK citizenship investment programme requires an investment of £200 000 in a UK business opportunity, for an applicant and their family to receive residency and possibly citizenship if all the requirements are met,” explained Kockott.

“We match the investor’s skills and experience with a range of business investment opportunities while meeting the UK’s Tier 1 entrepreneur visa-qualifying criteria.  It’s a win-win as it ensures a profitable investment into a UK business, while meeting the investor’s goals of UK residency,” he added.

Kockott outlined the requirements:

  • The permit entitles the holder to live and work in the UK for three years with the option to extend for a further two years if certain criteria are met
  • After six years in the UK on this visa, you could be able to begin the process to become a British citizen
  • Invest a minimum of £200 000 in a UK business
  • Be an active director in that business
  • Create two new jobs as a result of the business
  • Demonstrate that you have an English language ability of IELTS level 4
  • Spend at least 185 days a year in the UK to qualify for permanent residency.
  • To obtain the two-year extension, the following three criteria (among others) must be met:
  • The investment sum must have been injected into the UK business (new or existing)
  • You must have created the two full time jobs for resident workers of the UK and these jobs must have been in existence for at least 12 months.
  • You must demonstrate that you have registered as self-employed or as a director of a new or existing business.
  • You must demonstrate that you have been involved in the day-to-day core activities of the business.

“This visa has a much lower entry cost than other UK investment visas, which require a minimum investment of £2 million,” says Kockott.

He added that another major benefit of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Investment Programme, is that once an applicant holds a Tier 1 visa, the immediate family are permitted to accompany the holder and could also apply for permanent residency at the end of the five year term.

 “Once you have held permanent residence for a year, you may begin the process of naturalisation, after which you may apply for a passport.”