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A Guide For Foreign Entrepreneurs On Starting A Business In The UK

Successfully obtaining a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is a crucial stepping stone towards launching your new venture in the UK. If you have taken the bold decision to invest £200,000 or £50,000 into a new UK start-up, obtaining entry into the UK is only the very start of your exciting adventure.

For foreign-born entrepreneurs, you will most likely have a multitude of questions, such as;

  • what type of business structure should I choose?
  • what are the formalities of setting up a company in the UK?
  • how do I set out my commercial contracts and terms and conditions?

The answer to these questions is an article in themselves, however for those of you thinking of applying of a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, or have just obtained one, the following covers the essential elements of how to set up a business in the UK.

Deciding on your business structure

One of the first decisions you will need to make is what is the best structure for your business. Most people on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa choose to set up as a sole-trader, traditional partnership, limited liability partnership or as a limited liability company.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each. For example:

  • Sole-trader is the easiest way to establish a business in the UK. You simply need to inform HMRC (the UK tax department) that you have set up as a sole-trader and fill in annual tax returns. The main disadvantage is you will be liable for any debts and contractual obligations you enter into for business purposes.
  • Traditional partnerships provide flexibility and you will not be required to file accounts at the Companies Office which can be seen by the public. However, without a strong Partnership Agreement, the business may have to be dissolved in the event of a dispute, which could affect your immigration visa. You and your partners will also be jointly and separately liable for any debts owed by the business.
  • Limited liability partnerships provide the same flexibility as traditional partnerships, but limit each partners' liability. A Partnership Agreement is essential to ensure the rights and duties of each partner are formalised, along with a record of how much capital each partner has injected into the business. Annual accounts must be filed at Companies Office, which will be open to the public to view.
  • Limited liability companies provide advantages such as a low Corporate Tax rate and a more attractive vehicle for future investors. Your personal liability will also be limited and you will be required to file annual accounts.

Setting up a company in the UK

Under the Immigration Rules, you must set up your business within six months of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa date or entry into the UK. If you choose to set up a limited liability company, you will find the process of setting up a company in the UK exceptionally straightforward.

To incorporate your company, you will need to register it with Companies House. They will need details of:

  • the name of your organisation
  • the address
  • the names of the company's directors
  • the names of all the shareholders
  • the company's Articles of Association which set out the rules which will govern the company, for example, the rights of shareholders and directors' duties

Once your business is set up, you must invest your £200,000 in one of the manners prescribed by the Immigration Rules. You can do this by way of share capital or a director's loan.

Putting in place your commercial contracts and terms and conditions

To operate profitably and minimise the risk of disputes between suppliers and consumers, clear, concise commercial contracts are essential for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders. A commercial solicitor can help you set out commercial agreements and terms and conditions that protect your best interests and ensure your business activities stay within the bounds of the Immigration Rules.

There are many commercial considerations you will have to bear in mind over the duration of your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, especially if your ultimate plan is to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain, either after five years or through one of the fast-track routes.

Not only can the immigration solicitors at Reiss Edwards assist you to obtain your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, we can put you in contact with experienced commercial law solicitors and financial advisors who can provide guidance on investing your funds and setting up your new venture.

The team at Reiss Edwards consists of some of London's leading immigration lawyers. If you require expert legal advice on obtaining a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, please call us on 020 3744 2797.

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Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers london that we would be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
The Home Office refused my Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application. This meant that my family and i would have to go back to Jordan and my business would close down. I needed a good immigration lawyer to put in a very strong appeal. I approached Reiss Edwards based on a friend's recommendation and they put together a very strong appeal. I read the grounds of appeal and I knew that this was a winner. A big thanks to Joe who worked tireless on my appeal.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter.

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To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me

A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative.

Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country.

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I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed.

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Fantastic Solicitors!!!

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The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
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My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife’s UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.

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I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.

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I used Reiss Edwards’ immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.

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It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service.

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Kind regards
Nancy Jacquard

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