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Number of entrepreneurs flocking to the UK doubles | 26 February 2013

Last year saw the number of wealthy entrepreneurs entering the UK through the government’s visa programme double to reach 462, reports ft.com.

A rapidly increasing number of investors from the likes of China and Pakistan are viewing Britain as an attractive base for their headquarters and choosing to move there for business reasons.

These foreign nationals are able to set up shop in the UK through ‘entrepreneur visas’, which allow them to gain a fast track to UK citizenship if they meet criteria on access to funding, job creation or the potential success of their company.

The number of entrepreneurs taking up the visas rose to 462 in the 12 months to June 2012, while just 199 people took this route into the country in the same period a year earlier.

International law firm Pinsent Masons highlights that just 11 were issued in 2008. A partner in the private wealth team of the company, Simon Horsfield says the increase in visa applicants is forming new sectors.

“Entrepreneurs from around the world are attracted to some of the UK’s fastest growing business sectors, such as the rapidly expanding IT start-up sector, which is centered around ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in London.”

Out-law.com says American entrepreneurs represented the largest number of successful applicants in the year to June, accounting for 22 per cent of all that were granted visas. Entrepreneurs from Pakistan made up 16 per cent of the total, while Chinese foreign nationals chipped in with 11 per cent.

Mr Horsfield says that while the number of accepted visas is rising, tough requirements like English language proficiency separate this option from other routes to citizenship, like investor visas.

These are used by wealthy individuals to stay in the UK, which provides a ‘safe haven’ from judicial or political uncertainty back on home soil.

Contrastingly, Mr Horsfield said entrepreneurs can be hugely beneficial to the UK economy.

“They’ll bring fresh ideas, create new jobs and provide a boost just when the economy needs it,” he commented.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Qube Global Software. All facts are verified where possible directly by the author.

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