Start-up and Innovator Categories Open for Applications
As of today, the new Start-up and Innovator categories have replaced the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas. The new routes allow a wider range of applicants, including those without a degree or initial funding, to make an application.
Requirements for the new Start-up and the Innovator routes include:
- An upper intermediate level (B2) to qualify for the English language prerequisite (former level was intermediate (B1));
- Maintaining regular contact with their endorsing body at pre-set checkpoints;
- Securing an endorsement by a qualifying endorsing body: a UK higher education institution or an authorised business;
- An assessment of the business idea by an endorsed body for being: “innovative, viable and scalable”.
Start-up Visa Category
It is ideal for candidates who plan to start a business for the first time in the UK. The Start-up route permits non-graduates without any initial funding to apply. Under the new categories, an endorsing body can be either a UK higher education institution or an organisation “with a proven track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs”. A list of all authorised endorsing bodies for Start-up visas can be found here.
Successful Start-up applicants are expected to maintain regular contact with their endorsing body at pre-set checkpoints – after 6 and 12 months – to assess their progress against their business plans.
In contrast to one year under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, applicants will be granted two years’ leave with the opportunity to move forward to the Innovator visa route at the end of that period.
Innovator Visa Category
Applicants, with experience in business and at least £50,000 from a legitimate source, are eligible to apply via the Innovator route. Participants seeking to switch from the Start-up category may have the financial requirement waived. This is provided that they have made “significant achievements” against their business plans.
Similar to the Start-up visa, participants must sustain contact with their endorsing body at checkpoints after 6, 12 and 24 months.
In order to apply for an extension application, applicants must either meet the same achievement requirement or prove that their businesses are trading.
If the original business idea was unsuccessful, candidates may reapply with a new idea for endorsement under the criteria for initial applicants.
Candidates, who are successful at this phase, are eligible to apply for settlement after 3 years in the Innovator category. In this circumstance, they will need to satisfy the innovator endorsement requirement and to meet two additional requirements of the settlement criteria.
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa
The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa will remain open until 6 July 2019, while the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is now closed to new applicants. Applicants granted these visas under the existing rules before their application close date will be given transitional provisions.
How Can Taylor Hampton Help You?
Whether you seek to apply for a Start-up or Innovator visa, our immigration lawyers are here to help. Staying up-to-date on the latest developments, our solicitors are fully equipped to help you meet any of your business needs. If you need guidance on immigration, contact our experienced immigration solicitors today at: 020 7427 5970 or [email protected] or submit an enquiry here.