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Switching Into Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

Graduates who have been identified to have brought into being exceptional innovative ideas or entrepreneurial expertise by United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions and intends to continues his/her residence on the United Kingdom so as to begin one or more business related operations whist in the UK after he/she has graduated from school can do so by Switching into Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category. Before the individual makes an application for this course, he/she is required to make a request to a United Kingdom Education Institution that is approved by the United Kingdom Border Agency for endorsement so as to receive Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) permit. The individual is required to make use of the Endorsement received for the UK Higher Education Institution as part of the application whilst the application to remain under this category before three months after receipt of the endorsement. The institution is charged with the responsibility of supervising the person whilst he/she is successful in this category.

The Immigration Rules explains the term ‘business’ to be a embarking on a venture as either a sole trader, partnership or a company registered in the United Kingdom.

It is not possible for an individual to make an application for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) if he/she is stationed outside the United Kingdom.

Switching into the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

Switching into this category is authorised if the applying individual has been offered residence in the United Kingdom under any of the following categories:

However, the individual will not be authorised to make an application if he/she has previously receive entry clearance, leave to enter or remain as a Tier 1 Post Study Work migrant, a participant in the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme, or a Participant in the International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme).

If you are looking to make an application to switch into the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category, please contact one of our immigration solicitors on 0203744 2797 or send us an email on

Limit on Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applications

The person applying is limited by the government of the United Kingdom to a number of applications under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category he/she is permitted to make as there is limited openings of 2,000 places per year (running from 6 April 2013 to 5 April 2014).

These openings are however allocated as thus:

  • 900 places known as General endorsements, allocated to qualifying Higher Education Institutions (HEI) for graduates in any subject;
  • 1,000 places known as MBA endorsements, allocated to qualifying Higher Education Institutions for MBA graduates; and
  • 100 places known as Global endorsements, allocated to UKTI for overseas graduates.

This limit of the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) does not apply to application for extension in a situation where the individual applying has been previously granted leave to remain under this category.

Terms And Conditions Of Stay As Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

If an application is a success the applying person will be granted initially leave to remain for 12 months, which may be further extended for another 12 months as long as the HEI sponsor is pleased with the advancement attained by the Graduate Entrepreneur.

To be granted Leave to Remain under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, the individual will be required to meet the following conditions:

  • He/she would not source for help from public funds (which means that he/she is not entitled to lay claim to most benefits paid by the state);
  • He/she under paragraph 326 of the Immigration rules would need to register with the Police; if this is required,
  • He/she is not entitled to take up employment unless:
    • He/she works for the business they have established; and
    • He/she is under employ for no more than 20 hours per week
  • He/she is not entitled to take up employment as a Doctor or Dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).

Switching into Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

Applicants can only switch into this visa category if their last grant of leave was as a:-

  • Tier 4 General migrant
  • Student nurse
  • Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist

Applicants must not have previously been granted entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Post Study Work) migrant, a Participant in the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme, or a Participant in the International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme)

In the category, the individual is required to spend most of his/her time in growing his/her business but is also authorised to take up employ for at most 20 hours a week in order to get additional fund for support and maintenance.


Extension Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Extension
Switching into Tier 1 Graudate Entrepreneur

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Kind regards
Nancy Jacquard

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