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31 Aug 2015

Home Office launches new criminal record requirement for Tier 1 investors and entrepreneurs

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This week sees the introduction of the Home Office's new requirement for foreign investors and entrepreneurs applying under the points-based system to submit overseas criminal record certificates. The Home Office first published the amended guidance in July 2015 to initiate a crackdown on foreign criminals entering the UK.

With effect from yesterday, these Tier 1 applicants and their adult dependants must obtain clear criminal records from each country in which they have resided continuously for at least 12 months over the 10 years immediately preceding their application.

The certificate must be original and issued by the relevant overseas authority, and certificates in a language other than English must be translated.

Failure to provide a certificate will, in principle, lead to a refusal of the application although the Home Office has discretion to waive the requirement. Submission of false or fraudulent certificates may incur a 10 year ban on entry clearance to the UK.

What does this mean for foreign investors and entrepreneurs? 

Applicants must be mindful of the fact that the process for obtaining criminal record certificates varies from country to country. In some countries it can take months for a certificate to be issued, whilst others have no official process whatsoever. In the latter case, applicants will be required to provide the appropriate evidence to demonstrate this.

Given that each certificate must have been issued in the six months prior to the application date, it is vital that Tier 1 applicants and their adult dependants factor this new requirement into their application timeline when collating their documentation, to avoid significant delays.

As this is a trial scheme, it may be rolled out to prospective applicants under other points-based categories. So this may in future have significant implications on licensed sponsors when planning the recruitment exercise of skilled migrants under Tier 2.
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