Press Release: Survey finds visa system is failing international graduate entrepreneurs

A ground-breaking survey reveals that the visa system is failing international graduate entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the UK. The report, Made in the UK: Unlocking the Door to International Entrepreneurs, released by The Entrepreneurs Network in partnership with National Union of Students (NUS), surveyed 1,599 graduate international students.

The survey finds a significant proportion of international students have entrepreneurial ambitions; however, in a competitive global economy, the UK isn’t the only option:

  • Although nearly half, 42%, of international students intend to start up their own business following graduation, only 33% of these students, or 14% of the total, want to do so in the UK.

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa was set up in 2012 to encourage international graduates to start their businesses here. However, international students surveyed aren’t convinced by it:

  • Just 2% of respondents intending to start a business following graduation applied for the UK Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, with almost two thirds, 62%, saying they didn’t even consider it.
  • Less than half (46%) of respondents think their institution is certified to endorse them for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, while 43% are not sure, despite 101 of the 163 UK Universities being certified by the Home Office.
  • Only 18% think that the UK has better post-study processes in place for international students than other countries; 32% think it is worse than other countries.

Based on these and further findings, the report puts forward nine recommendations for government, including:

  • Removing the Tier 4 ban on self-employment for those working within an institutional programme (curricular or co-curricular) or other accelerator.
  • Allowing UKTI-approved accelerators to endorse international students in their programmes under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme.
  • De-coupling the risk for educational institutions in endorsing international graduates for Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visas from institutions’ Tier 4 license. This should be made explicit in the official Home Office guidance and in the way the Home Office applies its audit procedures for institutions.
  • Reinstating a post-study work visa, de-coupled from the sponsor system, to allow international students to explore markets and industry before finalising their business idea for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) application. In fact, 81% of the respondents considering starting their own business are interested in the possibility of permanent residency under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa.

Philip Salter, Director of The Entrepreneurs Network, commented:

This report shows that our visa system isn’t supporting the entrepreneurial ambitions of international graduates.

In its current form, the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa isn’t fit for purpose. We are training some of the world’s best and brightest young people at our world-class universities only to push them to set up their businesses overseas.

Lord Bilimoria CBE, founder of Cobra and Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, commented in the Foreword to the report:

As ever, it is the government’s attitude to immigration and student visas that is the most damning. Many students continue to feel a sense of alienation from the government, and we must continue to press for a more welcoming and attractive environment.

It is also damaging that the government continues to include international student numbers within the immigration figures, although the whole notion of an immigration cap is harmful. The reintroduction of the Post-Study Work Visa for postgraduates is rightly seen as a vital policy.

Alex Macpherson, Head of Ventures at Octopus Investments, commented:

Governments across the globe are considering ways to encourage the smartest graduates with the most potential to root themselves in their countries to develop ideas, create jobs and ultimately build world changing companies.

The growth in entrepreneurship that we’re seeing in the UK, in our schools, universities and business community, along with the development of new accelerators and increased sources of venture funding has put the UK in a strong, internationally competitive position to attract and retain some of today’s most talented and entrepreneurial minds. If we want the UK to continue to develop global billion dollar businesses then we need to ensure this remains the case and do everything that we can to encourage international students with entrepreneurial ambitions to remain on our shores and start businesses here.

Notes to Editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at / 07584 778207 or Philip Salter, Director of TEN, at / 07919 355290.

The Entrepreneurs Network is a cross-party think tank designed to bring entrepreneurs to the forefront of political discourse and help make Britain the best place in the world to start a business.

The Entrepreneurs Network is based within the Adam Smith Institute and is supported by Octopus Investments, one of the UK’s fastest growing fund management companies specialising in smaller company investing.

Press Release: NIC Bill could send honest taxpayers into financial ruin

Commenting on the second reading of the National Insurance Contributions Bill, taking place in the House of Lords today, Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, said:

The National Insurance Contributions Bill, which is in the Lords today, still maintains provisions for HMRC to issue "Accelerated Payment Notices" in disputed tax cases; a power that could send innocent citizens into financial ruin.

Under this new legislation, HMRC can force taxpayers to hand over disputed National Insurance funds before a court rules that the money is owed; people could see their homes sold and finances bankrupted, before being found innocent in a court of law.

Those who are struggling financially or who are unable to procure proper defence will be the easy targets of the new legislation; and those who have used tax planning arrangements that HMRC now deems questionable or illegitimate will have to undertake expensive action to defend their legal behaviour.

HMRC has become accountable only to itself; it is able to decide when and how much tax must be dished out from taxpayers, with a court's ruling only working in the after-math of the decision. This aspect of the NIC Bill fundamentally undermines the right of British citizens to be innocent until proven guilty and sets a dangerous precedent for more powers to be devolved to unaccountable agencies in the future.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Press Release: This is not the right time for another NHS pay claim

Commenting on tomorrow’s (24 November 2014)  four-hour NHS staff strike, Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, said:

The decision to hold a second strike over pay is a serious misjudgment on the part of the unions that have decided to join in. Average pay in the UK grew just 0.1% last year, and many businesses are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. But NHS pay has been rising since 2012.

55% of NHS staff already get an annual 3% rise: so the government is saying that any extra cash for wages should go to the workers who do not get this. So it is proposing a 1% rise for the others, but not an extra 1% on top of the existing 3% increments.

Extending the 1% rise to all NHS workers is estimated to cost around £300 million. Some 75% of hospitals' budgets is staff costs, so the extra cost that the union proposals would impose on them would mean cutbacks in staff – some 4,000 nurses lost this year, and another 10,000 next year.

The UK has economic growth of 3% but it is still fragile, and there are lots of things that could still spell disaster; and the British government is 1.45trillion in debt, and adding to that debt by another £100 billion a year. This just is not the right time for another pay claim. And certainly not for another Winter of Discontent (with images of ambulance crews dropping ‘non-emergency’ cases off in the snow to find their way home).

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

The ASI features in the Wall Street Journal on tax competition

The Adam Smith Institute features in the Wall Street Journal Europe's article on tax competition and rates throughout Europe.

The clearest example of that came with the tax reductions enacted byMargaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Those tax-rate cuts in the U.K. and U.S. forced other industrialized nations to cut their average top marginal rate for personal income to 42% today from more than 67% in 1980 simply to remain competitive, according to the Adam Smith Institute. Tax competition has driven down the average top rate for corporate income in the developed world to less than 27% today from 48% in 1980.

Read the full article here.

Kate Andrews' comments on decision to ban Julien Blanc from the UK feature in The Australian, CityAM, and the Daily Mail

Communications Manager Kate Andrews' comments on the Home Secretary's decision to deny Julien Blanc entry to the UK were featured in The Australian, CityAM, and the Daily Mail.

From The Australian:

The decision to deny the Swiss-born American a visa has led to a furious debate in the UK about freedom of speech.

Kate Andrews from the Adam Smith Institute said banning people simply because they expressed offensive views set a dangerous precedent.

Ms Andrews suggests people should boycott Mr Blanc's events and turn off their TVs.

"Debate is better than banning it," she told Sky News.

From CityAM:

While the decision to deny a visa to a 25-year old pick up artist may please those who signed the petition others are concerned about the precedent the decision may set in terms of free speech.

Kate Andrews, communications manager at the Adam Smith Institute, wrote:

Surely, we must recognise that there is a fundamental difference between the private sphere taking away one man’s platform to be noticed, and the state taking away every person’s platform to speak freely without threat of punishment or criminalisation.

Some worry that barring Blanc from the UK will actually increase his appeal and turn him into a matyr.

From the Daily Mail:

But Kate Andrews, of the respected Adam Smith Institute think tank, said: “The decision to deny Julien Blanc’s entrance into the UK has set the precedent that freedoms of speech and expression can be criminalised, if and when enough people sign a petition.

“Blanc’s comments are socially reprehensible and offensive to both men and women, but if we do not respect the rights of the offensive, we start risking the safety of any minority viewpoint.”

Press Release: McKinsey obesity report misjudges weight of evidence on economic costs

Commenting on the McKinsey report that found obese people cost the UK £47 billion a year, Head of Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

We do not want to live in a society where we tot up how much each person or group of persons 'puts in' and 'takes out', but in any case the premise here is faulty. Existing studies find that obese people cost the health service less in total, over their lifetimes, than the non-obese. Healthy people cost the most, because they require far more end of life care.

The McKinsey report finds a different result—that the obese cost the UK £47bn per year—partly through counting it as a 'cost' when people produce less output over their lives due to obesity. Part of the difference is down to looking at annual, and not life-cycle, numbers. But we don't call it a 'cost' when people decide to become teachers or nurses, who rate their jobs as more satisfying, but are less economically productive than accountants or lawyers.

It may be that reducing obesity will make people happier and healthier, and if so then we should make it as easy as possible for people to lose weight. But we should not rush to believing that the overweight are costing the rest of us.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.