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The Ankara Agreement (more formally known as the European Community Association Agreement), an agreement made between the EU and Turkey, provided UK visa routes for both Turkish workers and Turkish businesspeople. As it was an agreement created under the auspices of EC law, after the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020 no more visa applications under these routes were possible.
In this article we are going to concentrate on the Turkish Businessperson visa. This route enabled Turkish nationals, either in the UK or outside the UK, to propose to set up a business in the UK – or possibly join an already-existing business – and acquire a visa on the basis that they would run it or help to run it. After five years such a migrant, and relevant family members, could potentially acquire settlement.
Now that initial applications are no longer possible, migrants will only be able to apply for extension and Settlement applications.
What if your Ankara Agreement businessperson visa application is refused? After several years of discussion and argument the courts have ultimately decided that the legal remedy for refusal is Administrative Review with the Home Office – and potentially thereafter Judicial Review with the Upper Immigration Tribunal.
Sometimes a refusal decision is made on a narrow technical basis. For example, an applicant may be deemed to be in breach of visa conditions. This sometimes happens when an applicant holds visitor leave and the Home Office determines that they have already started working in their business whilst on visitor leave before their application has been decided. Or it could be that the Home Office alleges that the applicant has been working in employment outside their business, which would also be a breach. Or – a related issue – that the proposed business constitutes a “disguised employment” arrangement and is not a real business.
But on other occasions the refusal decision may be more broadly based around the idea that the proposed business is not “viable”. It could be that the business plan is deemed to be unrealistic or insufficiently researched, or that the business would not produce enough profits to support the applicant and any family members, or that the applicant has not allocated sufficient funds to establish the business.
If you are planning to submit an Ankara Agreement extension or settlement application, or if your application has been refused, we will be able to advise and assist you.
OISC Level 3 Immigration Adviser