New visa rules will reward entrepreneurs and investors who come to the UK and contribute to society, Damian Green has announced.
Under the new rules, those who invest large sums of money or create new jobs will be given the right to settle permanently in the UK faster.
Damian Green said: ‘Today I have sent out a clear message - the UK remains open for business and we want those who have the most to offer to come and settle here.
‘Entrepreneurs and investors can play a major part in our economic recovery and I want to do everything I can to ensure that Britain remains an attractive destination for them.
‘Last year we issued far too few visas to those who wish to set up a business or invest in the UK - I intend to change that.’
From April 6, investors who come to the UK and invest £5m will be allowed to settle here after three years and those that invest £10m or more will be allowed to settle after two.
This compares with the minimum five year requirement that is currently in place.
Greater flexibility will also be given to investors as they will be allowed 180 days a year, rather than 90, outside of the UK before they lose their right to settlement.
Those investors who are already in the UK now and have invested large sums will also qualify for accelerated settlement.
Thinking of starting a new business?
Entrepreneurs will also be able to settle in the UK more quickly if they create ten jobs or turn over £5m in a three year period and a new visit visa will be created for prospective entrepreneurs.
This will allow them to enter the UK in order to secure their funding and make arrangements for starting their business before they transfer onto a full entrepreneur visa.
While the standard investment threshold for an entrepreneur to qualify for a visa will remain at £200,000, the government will also allow high potential businesses to come to the UK with £50,000 in funding from a reputable approved organisation.
Entrepreneurs will also be allowed to enter the UK with their business partners as long as they have access to joint funds.
Are you ‘exceptionally talented’?
The government also outlined how the new ‘exceptional talent’ route under tier one of the points based system will operate from April this year.
This new innovative route for exceptionally talented migrants, which will be limited to 1,000 visas under the annual limit, will allow those who have the potential to be recognised as a leader in the fields of science, arts and humanities to come to the UK.
Damian Green added: ‘Our new exceptional talent route will ensure that we continue to allow the brightest and the best who can make a valued contribution into the UK.
‘This comes at a time of major reform to the immigration system to bring net migration back down to the tens of thousands.’