Chief Inspector examines the Home Office’s handling of entrepreneur and investor applications Image

Chief Inspector examines the Home Office’s handling of entrepreneur and investor applications

Posted: 13/09/2013

On 12 September 2013, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration published a report on an inspection of applications for leave to enter and remain in the UK under the Tier 1 (investor) and Tier 1 (entrepreneur) categories of the points-based system.

This inspection examined the efficiency and effectiveness of the Home Office’s handling of entrepreneur and investor applications. It particularly concentrated on the consistency and quality of decisions. Section 4 of the report also contains a few pages of some interesting statistics on all Tier 1 applications made overseas and in-country. For example, only seven application were made seeking leave to remain under Tier 1 (graduate entrepreneur) between April and August 2012.

The Independent Chief Inspector found that necessary security and fraud checks were properly carried out. However, it was found that, in Sheffield, Tier 1 (investor) and Tier 1 (entrepreneur) applications were stored in crates in open plan offices overnight; since then, senior managers have agreed to store the files in lockable rooms with restricted access.

In regards to the reasonableness of decisions:

  • 42% of the cases were unable to be properly assed due to a lack of retained evidence and inadequate case notes;
  • in cases able to be assed, 91% of decisions on Tier 1 (investor) applications were reasonable; and
  • in cases able to be assed, only 62.5% of decisions on Tier 1 (entrepreneur) application were reasonable.  

It was also discovered that overseas, the average decision time was seven-and-a-half days, whereas decisions took eight times longer (on average 63 days) in Sheffield. This may be in part be due to the fact that the number of Tier 1 (entrepreneur) applications awaiting a decision in the UK increased by 1,520% between February and December 2012. The Home Office reduced this figure to 700% in July 2013.

The report recommends that the Home Office ensures that:

  • the quality of its decision-making on Tier 1 (entrepreneur) applications is improved;
  • personal data is stored securely and in line with Data Protection Act requirements;
  • Appeal and Administrative Review outcomes are shared with caseworkers or entry clearance officers on a routine, consistent, and systematic basis;
  • its application intake forecasts better reflect the potential consequences of policy changes so that it can prevent a build-up of application; and
  • the reasons for its decisions on applications are properly evidenced and recorded.  

The Home Office’s response the report can be found here.

The immigration team at Penningtons is widely recognised for advising both investors and entrepreneurs. We also work closely with the Home Office and provide feedback on policy changes.


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