Theresa May’s celebrated rhetoric of the “British Dream,” repeated in her conference speech last week, has its roots in entrepreneurship.
The spirit of entrepreneurship is synonymous with economic liberty and social mobility. Similarly, the British Dream is the freedom and ability to achieve economic prosperity from little financial capital.
The UK lures in foreign talent with its haven of relatively low corporation tax, business-friendly legislation, and a highly skilled workforce. But a new history is emerging. Political reform is throwing this celebrated British ideology into question.
Undermining the very fabric of the British Dream are the harsh Brexit-inflicted economic conditions of which non-UK entrepreneurs must comply with. As a result, prosperity for non-UK businesses is ambiguous. Successful applicants for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa must have access to £200,000. Alternatively, £50,000 if transitioning from a Post-University Work Visa. Adding to that, sufficient funds to cover a healthcare surcharge and investment funds must be met, as well as a further £630 for each child accompanying you in your pursuit.
With further futile requirements, including but not limited to having a solid business plan, proof of the Visa holder’s ownership of the business, English language proficiency and passing the ‘Genuine Entrepreneur’ test. It is by no surprise then, that seeking professional advice has proliferated. For international entrepreneurs, this suggests a general sense of greater apprehension and perplexity surrounding the Entrepreneurial Visa, prompted by the onset of Brexit.
On the back of this, it has been argued that the very foundations and spirit on which talent is acquired from abroad is being dismantled by the Entrepreneurial Visa provisions. This argument cannot be overlooked considering the tremendous capital required to be eligible for the application process, never mind the investment required to even get a business on its feet in the highly competitive British environment.
These ever-harsher requirements spell out a statement so profoundly tied to the current political situation in the UK – a strong sense of ‘us and them’ and nationalism. And it is the innovators who are less-financially affluent that will get the brunt of the Brexit deal, yet the very same foreign talent may have the potential to contribute profoundly to innovation in the UK in the future.
Nevertheless, there is still so much to benefit from attaining a UK Entrepreneurial Visa. Compete with the best in the Western business world, take advantage of new markets or outsource business to highly qualified professionals abroad to gain from abroad investment. However, it goes without saying that the increasing financial divide of Visa requirements has the potential to crush the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Written by: Hannah Shepperd, a communications specialist for the accredited Immigration Advice Service, UK.