In the last year, the number of wealthy entrepreneurs coming into the UK on the government’s visa program has doubled. This is boosted by people from both China and Pakistan who are setting up their businesses in London. They are coming on entrepreneur visas that are allowed to foreign nationals who start a company and move towards UK citizenship.
Experts say that the interest in these entrepreneur visas has peaked so much as London has become a more important global tech hub and it has become increasingly more difficult to obtain the right to work in the UK.
As Simon Horsfield, partner in the private wealth team of Pinsent Masons said, “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 centred around ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in London.”
According to figures by Pinsent Masons, in 2008 only 11 of these visas were issued; in 2011, 199 of them were issued and in 2012 there were 462 issued. American entrepreneurs accounted for 22% of the applicants while Chinese nationals accounted for 11% and Pakistan nationals accounted for 16%.
As James Badcock, head of the Geneva office of law firm Collyer Bristow, said, “Clients considering an entrepreneur visa are often those who are already entrepreneurs in their home country but are concerned about the stability or state of the political regimes where they live.”