The Innovator Visa attracts businessespeople
The innovator visa is aimed at attracting “more experienced businesspeople” to invest in an innovative business in the UK. Your business idea must be new compared to other established businesses in the UK (innovative). It should also be realistic to pursue (viable) and has a clear potential for growth (scalable).
Applicants will require a business plan that will form part of the application process. Your business plan will need to demonstrate that your business is innovative, viable and scalable.
Eligibility and Requirements for Innovator visa:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must have at least £50,000 capital to start your business
- Your idea must be innovative, viable and scalable
- Your idea must be approved by the UK endorsement body
- You must meet maintenance and show savings of £1,270 to support yourself in the UK
- Knowledge of English at minimum Level B2
- You must have a clean criminal record
Comparison with previous Entrepreneur visa
The UK government introduced its new Innovator Visa for overseas entrepreneurs as a visa route to replace Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa. The main difference between an old Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa and a new Innovator visa is that now entrepreneurs must have an innovative business idea to start a company in the United Kingdom.
Additionally, this business idea must be endorsed and approved by a regulated Endorsement body. The Home Office has a list of endorsing bodies including the short summaries of their focus and links to their websites with details of their application process and criteria for endorsement. Entrepreneurs should select their endorsing body carefully, because there is a requirement to stay in contact with the endorsement body after your application is successful to regularly report on your progress.
In positive developments, the amount of money an entrepreneur has to invest into the UK new business has been reduced from £200,000 to only £50,000. However, in practice many endorsing bodies would require higher amount of funds to show the scalability of the business.
Benefits of Innovator visa:
- You can start your own business or several businesses in the UK
- You can work for your business – this includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership
- You can bring a business partner who also needs to meet the same eligibility requirements
- Bring your family to live with you in the UK
- There is no minimum salary threshold for you to be paid in the UK
- You can apply for a settlement after 3 years and eventually obtain a British passport
Restrictions of the Innovator visa:
- You cannot work for any other businesses apart from your own business
- You must get an endorsement for your business idea from an endorsing body, whose requirements vary significantly and may sometimes charge additional fees
- You must keep regular contact with the endorsing body to keep you in check on your progress
- You must meet the settlement requirements at the end of the visa or otherwise you must extend your visa for further 3 years
Settlement requirements under Innovator route
The business must meet at least two of the following criteria in any combination:
- Minimum of £50,000 has been spent on running your business
- Gross revenue of £1 million in the last year
- Gross revenue of £500,000 in the last year, including £100,000 from exports
- Create 10 full-time jobs for resident workers
- Create 5 full-time jobs with average gross annual salary of £25,000
- Increase in the number of customers, higher than the market average
- Research and development activities, patents
In addition to the business requirements, entrepreneur must also meet the general requirements for settlement, such as required period of residence in the UK, no excessive absences and Life in the UK test.
How can we help?
Taylor Hampton Solicitors is a leading law firm who has helped many entrepreneurs obtain their visas or settle in the UK. We have expertise in advising on the most appropriate endorsing bodies, so your application has a greater chance of success.
We specialise in both simple and complex cases and have an experienced team of immigration lawyers, some of whom speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian and who are here to help you every step of the way.
Our specialist immigration lawyers will be able to advise and guide you through the complex evidence that is required for this type of visa.
If you require guidance on any immigration issue, contact Taylor Hampton Solicitors today on: 020 7427 5970 or [email protected]