Businesses run by migrants on entrepreneur visas have contributed £1.45bn annually to the UK economy since 2008, according to figures released by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
The figures, which are estimates based on the extensive enterprise database at BIS, also suggest that 1,580 business have either been started or taken over by people on entrepreneurship visas across this period. The figures cover anyone who has come to the UK from outside the EU; as people coming from within the EU do not require a visa to come to the UK and start a business.
In total 9,850 people are employed in these businesses; which have an average annual turnover of £919,000. The majority of the businesses recorded are micro-businesses (employing between 1 and 9 people) – with 1,450 falling into this category. But 50 business employ 21 or more workers.
The most popular sector for migrant entrepreneurs is retail and automotive repair – with 425 businesses started or taken on since 2008. Professional, scientific and technical services (380) and information and communication (185) are the next most popular.
The number of businesses started or taken over by those on an entrepreneur visa has increased dramatically since 2008. In that year the figure was 10; but by 2013 it had soared to 595. It dropped slightly to 335 in 2014 and the figures only show 5 so far this year – although the figures only go up to March.
Despite this, it is surprising that so few businesses were started in the first quarter of 2015 given the fact that net migration has reached 300,000 for the first time since records began.
Further reading: Entrepreneurs with a criminal background