New entrepreneur visas open to boost UK economy
The UK Home Office has confirmed existing entrepreneur visas are to close and be replaced with new Start Up and Innovator Visas, in a bid to attract ambitious business owners with viable business ideas.
The coming weeks will see a number of changes to the UK immigration rules affecting entrepreneurs applying for a visa to set up and operate a business in the UK.
While the visa routes are open to individuals across all sectors of the economy, it's expected that the majority of applications will relate to tech business ventures - a welcome development in sustaining the growth in UK tech.
Innovator route replaces the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
From 29th Match 2019, the existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is closed to new applications. It will be replaced with the new Innovator visa.
Aimed at experienced business people, the new visa will require applicants to secure endorsement from an approved body prior to making their visa application to the Home Office.
The endorsement stage will see the business idea assessed against criteria including innovation, viability and scalability. Applicants will be required to prepare a business plan for evaluation by the endorsing body.
Only with endorsement can the applicant then proceed to apply for their visa.
Dates have also been released for those individuals already in the UK under the Entrepreneur visa. Visa holders have until 5th April 2023 to extend their visa and until 5th April 2025 to apply to settle under the route.
Start Up route to replace Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
From 29th March 2019, individuals can apply to start a new business in the UK under the new Start Up route.
Replacing the Graduate Entrepreneur visa, the new route is open to a wider pool of applicants, as both graduates and non-graduates can apply.
Eligibility is to be established through endorsement of the business venture and the applicant by a relevant endorsing body. The application must prove through the business plan that the idea and the individual are both credible, and there is genuine intent to make the business a success.
While the new routes embed, and the old routes continue to operate for existing visa holders, it is likely to become confusing for applicants to understand which route applies to their circumstances and how to approach making an application. In particular, full details of the endorsement processes are yet to be released by the Government.
With so much at stake, individuals should take advice to ensure they are proceeding on the right path to put their UK business plans into action.
DavidsonMorris specialises in business immigration. We assist companies with PBS Licences, compliance, visa applications and general advice regarding all aspects of UK immigration law.