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U.K. Vows Crackdown on Immigrants Abusing Entrepreneur Route

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. announced a crackdown on immigrants seeking to enter the country illegally by posing as business people, after discovering a high volume of sham cases.

The so-called Tier One Entrepreneurs route into the U.K. is designed to welcome those with access to no less than 200,000 pounds ($315,000) or venture capitalists with access to a minimum of 50,000 pounds. U.K. Border Agency staff noticed fraudsters were recycling funds to pass the immigration tests and setting up artificial businesses.

“I am introducing a ‘genuine entrepreneur’ test which will give U.K. Border Agency caseworkers the ability to test the credibility of suspicious applicants,” Immigration Minister Mark Harper said in a written statement to Parliament in London today. “I am also making a further change to require the necessary minimum funds to be held, or invested in the business, on an ongoing basis rather than solely at the time of the application.”

In the year through September 2012, 1,427 immigrants entered the U.K. using the entrepreneur route and a further 1,129 had their visas extended once in the country.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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