Entrepreneurs flock to start businesses in UK
sectors, such as the rapidly expanding IT start-up sector, which is centred around 'Silicon Roundabout' in London," said Simon Horsfield, partner in the private wealth team of Pinsent Masons, an international law firm.
Take-up of the visas has increased sharply in recent years, jumping to 462 in the 12 months to the end of June 2012, compared with 199 in the same period a year earlier. In 2008, just 11 were issued, according to research by Pinsent Masons.
Entrepreneurs from the US accounted for 22 per cent of applicants in the year to the end of June. Chinese nationals were behind 11 per cent of the total - rising by 500 per cent to 54 applications last year - while those from Pakistan accounted for 16 per cent.
Lucy Warwick-Ching The number of wealthy entrepreneurs entering the UK on the government's visa programme has doubled in the past year, boosted by people from China and Pakistan starting businesses in London. "Entrepreneur visas" allow foreign nationals to start a company and earn a fast-track to UK citizenship as long as strict criteria on access to funding, job creation, or business success are fulfilled.
London's importance as a global tech hub, and the difficulty in obtaining the right to work in the UK by other means, has greatly increased interest in entrepreneur visas in the past year, say experts.
"Entrepreneurs from around the world are attracted to some of the UK's fastest growing business