The appellant is a Turkish national that applied for leave to remain under the European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA) in order to establish himself in business (ECAA Business Visa). His proposal involved the acquisition of an existing grocery shop and its development. He was intending to buy an existing business, organic grocery store in the Highbury area of North London.


This case focuses on the question of whether the appellant had the business experience and qualifications to apply for leave to remain on the basis of setting up his own business. It therefore provides an important lesson for situations of this kind.




His business plan identified the range of foods to be provided, and the sale strategy of the business was described as “straight forward”. The appellant was described as “a young, energetic and enthusiastic businessperson” who “… will be responsible for management, staffing and daily operations.


The Home Office refused the application stating that “No evidence has been provided to demonstrate that [the appellant] possesses any experience or qualifications to ensure the role can be carried out successfully”. Additional concerns were identified relating to the “young age” of the appellant, the absence of the list of potential or existing clients, and whether sufficient funds existed to cover the investment.


The Appellant submitted a pre-action protocol letter stating that there was ‘there is no legal requirement that the applicant should have any experience or qualification to invest in a business.’


The Home Office responded by saying that: “Whilst you claim there is no legal requirement to have experience or qualifications to run a grocery store business and therefore unreasonable to highlight that such experience or qualification is needed.’


The Appellant commenced Judicial Review Proceedings.


Decision – R (on the application of Agca) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWCA Civ 56


The Court considered this case and confirmed that the difficulty for this appellant is that he provided no evidence of any relevant business experience nor of any understanding of business and financial management.


The Court held that it is not difficult to understand that such a requirement of experience is required as it relates to the finances, sales and stock of the business and of managing staff. In the absence of this the respondent’s decision was reasoned and rational.


Our comments


The findings show the importance of ensuring that the business plans are carefully produced, ensuring that any potential issues are addressed. In this case, the appellant lack experience and qualifications, and failed to provide evidence as to why the business plan would be effective without these key components.


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