The Government has announced two new visa routes for entrepreneurs.
The start-up visa – this category is for those seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. Applicants will have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. The start-up visa is an expanded version of the Tier 1 graduate entrepreneur visa, which allowed universities to endorse international students.
The innovator visa - this category is for more experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK. Applicants will have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. With some exceptions, applicants will also have funding to invest in their business.
The key requirement under both these categories is that individuals will need to obtain an endorsement from a relevant body. These bodies will include: UK higher education institutions which meet specific requirements, and organisations with a proven track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs. Such bodies will need to be approved by the Home Office.
Pat Saini, Penningtons Manches’ head of immigration and chair of the Tech London Advocates (TLA) immigration working group, has been a leading figure amongst those making the case for the UK to introduce both a start-up visa and that such visas be endorsed by third party bodies. Commenting on the changes she stated: “The tech sector in particular will welcome the announcement. The sector has long been lobbying for ‘fit for purpose visas’ - allowing endorsements from third party experts and business leaders is most definitely a step in the right direction. These changes will go a long way in ensuring that the UK remains a world-leading destination for pioneering entrepreneurs and innovators in the post Brexit era.”