10 Questions You Can Expect to Hear in Your U.K. Entrepreneur Visa Interview
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
The U.K. has long been a popular spot for new businesses, with nearly 2,000 entrepreneurs choosing it as their startup base last year.
This is largely to do with the Home Office's stringent assessment procedure -- called the "Genuine Entrepreneur Test" -- which is used to determine whether entrepreneur visa applicants are legitimate.
One of the key components of this test is the entrepreneur visa interview, which is designed to scrutinize an applicant's credibility. For many applicants, this interview remains shrouded in mystery, with little information available on what will actually be asked of them when they are there.
While these questions are not set in stone, and should by no means be memorized, they cover areas that are likely to be addressed in some form in the interview and can help you gauge what to expect before you attend.
1. Why this?
Why do you want to start this business in particular?
This question requires more than just a blanket answer -- avoid mentioning that you are "passionate about" anything. Your interviewer is not just testing your knowledge of your proposed business plan, but also of the market you plan to infiltrate, so prepare accordingly.
2. Why here?
Why do you want to start this business in the U.K.?
Knowing the answer to this question is more than just knowing why the U.K. is a good location for your business -- you need to be able to explain why it's the best. It's likely that your interviewer will want to know if and to what extent you have considered other locations as well.
You may also be asked which part of the U.K. you plan to set up your business in and why you have chosen this area over others.
3. Why you?
Why are you the right person to set up this business?
As with most professional interviews, your interviewer will have a copy of your CV on hand to use as a prompt. He or she will be looking to find out how capable you are and may ask you about your experience in either setting up/running a business or working as an executive figure if this is applicable.
Be ready with examples of instances in which you have demonstrated key skills like leadership as well as several standout achievements.
4. What is your plan?
What is your business plan?
Having a detailed, structured and credible business plan is essential to both your entrepreneur visa interview and application.
To be properly considered, your business plan needs to break down your business model, financial projections, market research, sales strategy, employment structure and competitive analysis.
In your interview, you'll be expected to speak about each area of your business plan in depth, so knowing it inside out is essential.
5. Who will you need?
How many people are you going to recruit and what roles will they take on?
Your interviewer is looking to build a picture of exactly what your functioning business would look like.
Because of this, it's likely that he or she will want to know about your employment plans. In preparation for this type of question, ensure that you understand the exact roles you'll be looking to fill once in the U.K., including their titles, responsibilities and duties as well as their position on your workforce hierarchy.
6. How will you start?
What would your first steps be when setting up your business?
Your interviewer may want to know how you would start the process of starting your business if accepted, including set up, initial marketing plans and initial costs. To prepare for this question, try and break down your startup process into the first six weeks, covering each area of the business (marketing, sales, recruitment, etc.) in detail.
7. How will you sell it?
Will you be implementing a sales strategy?
If your interviewer asks about your sales strategies, aim to give as detailed an answer as possible; your interviewer will be more convinced by detailed plans with timeframes and financial projections rather than vague answers about generic sales techniques.
8. How will you survive?
How do you plan to deal with losses or setbacks?
Be prepared for your interviewer to scrutinize your financial projections; have an awareness of how you plan to make up for unexpected losses or issues and be ready to discuss this.
Your interviewer will want to know how you plan to bounce back from setbacks; not just by making up financial losses, but also by being prepared to develop your product(s) and strategies if necessary.
9. What makes you the best?
What gives you the edge over your competitors?
As part of the entrepreneur visa interview, your interviewer will be looking for you to demonstrate that your business will not only do well but thrive and dominate the market. You may need to demonstrate this by showing that you have researched and analyzed your top competitors, that you understand why they are successful and that you can offer a better service or product than them.
10. Is this the best route for you?
Do you have any other reasons to want to enter the U.K.?
An important thing to remember about the entrepreneur visa interview is that your interviewer is not just trying to find out about your business; he or she is also trying to establish whether you should be granted a long-term U.K. visa.
Because of this, you'll likely be asked about any other motives -- other than your desire to set up a business -- which would drive you to want to move to the U.K. If you already have family members, dependents or a spouse in the U.K. for example, you may be asked whether they have been a factor in your decision-making. If you have made any previous applications for visas, it's possible that your interviewer will ask you about them.
Be prepared for this; if on paper you have other ties to the UK, you'll need to use the interview as an opportunity to discuss your commitment to your business.
Your interview will be tailored to you, so bear this in mind when preparing; know your business plan inside out so that you can be ready to discuss any area if pressed.