Posted on March 19, 2019
The innovator and start up visas replace the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route which is now CLOSED to new applicants and the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route which will close from 6 July 2019.
Start- up visas
You can apply for a Start-up visa if:
Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn. If you want to stay longer, you must re-apply with a new endorsement before your current visa expires.
You can only stay for a total of 2 years even if you are granted a new visa with a new endorsement.
You can apply for an Innovator visa if:
You can also form a team with other Innovator applicants, but you cannot share the same investment funds. Your team must have £50,000 for each Innovator applicant. For example, if you have 2 Innovator applicants, your team must have £100,000 to invest.
However, before you apply you need to have your business or business idea assessed by an approved body. They will provide you with an endorsement letter if your business is viable.
How much information do we have?
As immigration lawyers, we would expect some guidance for applicants from the Home Office. However there have been no guidance published yet. What we do have are rules in the new Appendix W.
We do not know how much the endorsing body would change for the endorsement letter, there is nothing preventing them from charging high fees for an endorsement letter or requiring the applicant to provide them with a stake in the business in return for the endorsement. Nor is there anything to prevent an endorsing body from withdrawing endorsement.
The guidance states that:
We will normally allocate 25 places to a new endorsing body, unless you ask for a different number. If, for any reason, your organisation would prefer to be issued with fewer endorsements, you should let us know and we will issue the preferred number of endorsements.
Currently, there are 24 endorsing bodies on the innovator list. If they all have 25 endorsement letters, that’s a total of 600 per year.
With every new route, we expect to see some “teething problems,” and I suspect the Home Office is likely to continue providing further information on these routes, which would be helpful. It will be interesting to see how many entrepreneurs avail the new routes.
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