Turkish nationals have a unique right to enter the UK or seek leave to remain in order to set up and run their own business. This right derives from the European Community Association Agreement (ECAA). This agreement, also known as the Ankara Agreement dates back to 1973.
- Article 13 of the ECAA allows Turkish nationals to establish themselves and provide a service to others.
- Article 41 of the Additional Protocol to the Turkish ECAA, known as the “standstill clause”, is a supplement to Article 13 of the ECAA. This clause allows Turkish nationals to have their applications evaluated under the domestic rules that were in force when the UK joined the EU in 1973.
In law, a Turkish national who can demonstrate that they can set up in business and live off the profits of that business, will be granted the right to remain in the UK. Normally, a grant of leave will be initially for one year and then a further extension of 3 years will be granted providing requirements are met. After 4 years continuous residency on this type of visa a Turkish national qualifies for indefinite leave to remain.
However, please note that an applicant cannot qualify under the Ankara agreement where the Home Office allege that they have committed fraud. In the current hostile climate, decision-makers regularly try to invoke the “fraud exception” to refuse an ECAA application.
Other factors that are subjected to scrutiny by the case-working department include:
- Whether the applicant’s role in the business amounts to disguised employment.
- Whether the applicant’s business plan is viable.
- Whether there is any aspect of the applicant’s immigration history which can be categorised as fraud, e.g. did the applicant start work on their business before they had work permission.
- Are the applicant’s tax affairs in order?
At Drummond Miller, our experienced team have a proven track record in making successful ECAA applications.
Over the last 25 years we have assisted numerous Turkish clients:
- Seek leave to enter under the ECAA agreement.
- Switch into the ECAA category whilst already lawfully in the UK, e.g. as a spouse.
- Apply for indefinite leave to remain.