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Business Immigration Solicitors

The Ankara Agreement post Brexit (23 April 2020)

Date: 23/04/2020
Duncan Lewis, Business Immigration Solicitors, The Ankara Agreement post Brexit

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Following Brexit, an implementation period was agreed (also known as the transitional period) until the 31 December 2020 where the UK would still comply with European Union laws in order to provide continuity and certainty. During this transitional period, UK business and individuals are still accessing EU markets in the usual way and the same for EU business and individuals in the UK.


Post Brexit transitional period

Very little has changed during the transitional period while the UK government are negotiating arrangements for the UK’s future relationship with the European Union. The main change is that the UK are no longer participating in EU institutions and governance. The end of the transitional period is the cut-off date for citizens free movement rights which means EU nationals wishing to move to the UK can do so on the basis of free movement until 31 December 2020 (unless this is extended which is a possibility given the current Covid-19 pandemic).

In relation to the Ankara Agreement, Turkish nationals are still able to make applications until the end of the transitional period. The Home Office will consider and process applications in accordance with the Ankara agreement until the cut – off date of 31 December 2020 (unless extended).

This position was highlighted by the Turkish Ambassador to London, Mr Yalcin where he recently stated:

"…The U.K. has left the EU as of Jan. 31, 2020. However, it will abide by the EU rules…until the end of this year. Therefore, the effect of constant regulations regarding the Ankara Agreement will remain as they are until the end of Dec. 31, 2020...”


The Ankara Agreement (Turkish business people)

Those Turkish nationals who want to start a new business in the UK or come to the UK to help run an established business, who are over the age of 18, can benefit from the Ankara Agreement.

The requirements to engage in business under the Ankara Agreement are that applicants:

  • must have a genuine intention to set up a viable business;

  • will be investing sufficient funds to establish your business;

  • will be able to pay your share of the costs of running the business;

  • will ensure the share of the profits will be enough to support the family without needing to have another job or rely on public funds;

  • must not have remained in the UK in breach of UK immigration laws and must not have engaged in disguised employment.


If you wish to join an existing company or partnership you must also show that there is a genuine need for your services and investment. Moreover, you must have an active part in running the business. The precise requirements will vary depending on the business and specific circumstances.

For bespoke advice and assistance please speak to author Business Immigration Director Ayan Yalchin.


How much money should be invested in a business under the Ankara Agreement?

Under the Ankara Agreement there is no minimum amount of investment required in order to make a successful application. It is necessary to show ‘sufficient funds’ to establish a business. It is important that the business is well planned in terms of projected achievements. The profits of the business must be enough to support an applicant and their family without taking another job or recourse to public funds.


What type of business is needed to make a valid application under the Ankara Agreement?

Under the Ankara Agreement Turkish nationals must set up in business as a sole trader, partnership, or director of a limited company. It is also possible for Turkish nationals to join an existing partnership or company on the condition that they will be actively involved in running the business where there is a need for their services and investment.

Turkish business people seeking to make an application under the Ankara Agreement have a great deal of flexibility unlike other immigration categories as there is no restriction on the type of business they can undertake and there is no minimum investment level.


Can family members come to the UK under the Ankara Agreement?

Applicants under the Ankara Agreement can bring their spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner and children under the age of 21 as dependants. It is important to remember that the applicant will need to show they can support the family without needing to obtain another job or recourse to public funds.


How long can a Turkish National stay in the UK under the Ankara Agreement?

An initial period of leave granted under the Ankara Agreement will be valid for 12 months. It would then be necessary to apply for an extension which should be granted for a further 3 years. The further leave of 3 years will only be granted if the business is ongoing and will continue to operate in the UK. Subsequent grants of 3 years may follow.

The strict immigration rules regarding initial and extension applications must be met so it is important that you contact us for bespoke assistance.


Can a Turkish national businessperson settle in the UK under the Ankara Agreement?

Those who are living in the UK under the Ankara Agreement (as a Turkish national businessperson) can settle by obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain. In order for applicants to be eligible for ILR they must have:

  • been a Turkish national business person living in the UK under the Ankara Agreement;

  • resided in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years under the Ankara Agreement (or in combination with Tier 1 Entrepreneur leave);

  • last been granted leave as a business person under the Ankara Agreement;

  • been supporting themselves and family members by the profits from the business and not by other employment or recourse to public funds;

  • continued to run the business with the intention to continue running a viable business in the UK;

  • not fall under any of the grounds for refusal or have criminal convictions;

  • satisfy the knowledge of English language and life in the UK requirements.



Can a Turkish national become a British National via the Ankara Agreement?

An applicant under the Ankara Agreement can obtain ILR after 5 continuous years of residence in the UK. The Turkish national applicant can then apply for British Citizenship after another 12 months from obtaining ILR. It is possible to apply for British Citizenship after 6 years from entry under the Ankara Agreement (unless the applicant is married to a British citizen or partner is/becomes British where the applicant can apply sooner).


What will happen to the Ankara Agreement after the transitional period (31 December 2020)

Unless the current transitional period is extended, the longstanding Ankara Agreement will no longer be available to new applicants after the 31 December 2020. The British Ambassador to Turkey Sir Dominick Chilcott stated at a Diplomatic Correspondence Association meeting recently that a new immigration system will be tuned according to the need of the labour market in the UK.

He went on to state that the position regarding the Ankara Agreement will not change until the new law. The UK government is expected to announce its new points based immigration system before the transitional period end date of 31 December 2020 which will be implemented after the said date (transitional period end date could be extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic). Looking forward, it seems apparent that the new immigration rules will build on the current point based scoring system which would encourage qualified and talented migrants to come to the UK.

For Turkish nationals intending to set up business in the UK, please contact author Ayan Yalchin. The current flexible and advantageous rules under the Ankara Agreement where there is no restriction on the type of business and no minimum investment level are likely to change after the transitional period where the requirements are likely to be less advantageous.


Author Ayan Yalchin is a business immigration director with more than 19 years’ post-qualification experience acting on behalf of individuals and businesses in a variety of immigration related proceedings.

Ayan continues to be recommended by Legal 500 2019 for his immigration work in London. He specialises in Tier 1, Tier 2, and sponsorship licences for companies including renewals and advising on processes and compliance, Tier 4 (students) and Tier 5 (temporary workers), as well as all types of entry clearance, FLR, settlement, EEA and ECAA/ Ankara agreement applications.

Contact Ayan on 020 7275 2011 or at ayany@duncanlewis.com.


Duncan Lewis Business Immigration Solicitors

Our Immigration department is ranked as a top-tier practice in Immigration: human rights, appeals and overstay matters in The Legal 500 2019. As leading immigration specialists we advise on business immigration, right to work in the UK, Tier 2 visa applications, student/graduate visas, spousal visas and visa overstays.

Our broad practice provides a full service to SME business clients across the UK in relation to the Points Based System (PBS); Sponsorship license applications and immigration strategy/compliance advice. Our specialist solicitors are also able to advise businesses and individuals on any changes to UK immigration law as a result of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

For expert legal advice call Duncan Lewis immigration solicitors on 020 7275 2011


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