Most UK migrant entrepreneurs are Asian

Lord Karan Bilimoria owner of Cobra Beer
Lord Karan Bilimoria owner of Cobra Beer

Migreat, the online platform that facilitates migration by providing accurate, clear and understandable information around all aspects of immigration has published a new report titled “Open Borders to Entrepreneurs & Innovators” that compares 12 start-up visa schemes worldwide and their results.

The “Open Borders to Entrepreneurs & Innovators” was produced to draw attention to visa schemes that are specifically aimed at foreign entrepreneurs and to provide a clear comparison between them. “This is the first time a report has been published that clearly compares each visa scheme and gathers the pertinent information into one document with graphics to make it easier to read.” Says Josephine Goube, author of the report and director of partnerships at Migreat.

From the report it is showed most foreign entrepreneurs coming today to the UK are coming from Asia: half of entrepreneur visas granted in 2013 were given to Asian nationals. The top 3 countries of origins of foreign entrepreneurs were all from Asian Countries (Pakistan, India and China).

There were 1135 Entrepreneur visa granted to Pakistani nationals, 628 to Indians, 408 to Chinese nationals, 253 to Bangladeshi nationals and 196 to Sri Lankan Nationals in 2013.

“Immigrants start new businesses at a higher rate than native born populations in every country they enter. Governments that are lucky enough to count their countries as destinations for the world’s immigrants should do everything in their power to facilitate entrepreneurship by reducing red tape and decreasing capital requirements that are barriers to entry. This is what this report seeks to support” said Daniel Lizio-Katzen, ceo of Migreat.

Start-up visas are successful at retaining migrants that are already in the destination country.

The majority of people that start-up visa programs have attracted had already moved to the country or had historical or cultural links with the destination country. More than 70% of successful applicants to the UK Entrepreneur visa were already in the UK at the time they applied; the majority of them originate from the five largest non-EU diasporas present in the UK: Pakistan, India, China, Australia and US.

It takes time to get a start-up visa program running and attract the right kind of entrepreneurs.

Most governments do not have a dedicated budget that markets their start-up visa program due to the politically sensitivity around immigration. This leads to a lack of knowledge about where and how to market the visas. After a year, most European start-up visas have not attracted more than 100 applications to their programs.

Start-up visas are good at picking winners; less good at identifying and supporting potential talent.

Most start-up visa policies ask for applicants to already have seed-money with which to apply for the visa; this deters early stage start-ups who otherwise might be eligible. Out of 12 start-up visas available worldwide, only four do not have capital thresholds requirements. With two actually providing dedicated funds to foreign entrepreneurs to start their company (Chile & France).