Latest changes to the Tier 1 Innovator visa rules

In an attempt to prepare for Brexit on 1 December 2020 the Home Office finally published changes to the current immigration system. This was a historic moment as it is the first in over a decade that the immigration system has had a major overhaul. Several routes have been deleted or replaced whilst others have been updated. From 1 January 2021, this new immigration system will also be open to EEA migrants, as the Brexit transition period will come to an end. The Tier 1 Innovator visa was also amended and this route also falls under the Points Based System. Migrant entrepreneurs will be required to score 70 points under Appendix Innovator to the Immigration Rules.

What is a Tier 1 Innovator visa?

The Tier 1 Innovator visa is a unique business visa for entrepreneurs who wish to establish a new innovative business in the UK. The Tier 1 Innovator visa replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa in March 2019 and we have successfully assisted our clients in either submitting a fresh Tier 1 Innovator visa or switching from their Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa to the Tier 1 Innovator visa. Where migrants fall short in meeting the Tier 1 Innovator visa requirements we may be able to assist them with the Tier 1 Start-up visa (another visa designed for entrepreneurs).

How to apply for a Tier 1 Innovator visa?

If you wish to apply for a Tier 1 Innovator visa you must have an innovative business idea with an approved endorsement. The endorsement must be obtained from a Home Office approved endorsing body. The endorsement body must have a proven track record of supporting entrepreneurs that are approved by the Home Office. A business plan will be required when applying for the endorsement. Applicants must meet the innovation, viability, and scalability requirement to receive an endorsement. The following requirements must be met:

  • You must have a credible business idea and the idea must be endorsed;
  • You must have at least £50,000 in cash to invest in their proposed business idea or have the funds verified by the endorsing body;
  • You must meet the English language requirement (Level B2); and
  • You must meet the maintenance requirement of £945 and hold the funds for 90 consecutive days.

The Home Office application fee is £1021 (entry clearance) and £1277 (switch in-country). IHS is currently £624 per year.

What are the changes to the Tier 1 Innovator visa?

Whilst the Tier 1 innovator visa route was amended there were no significant changes to the actual requirements. The key change was in relation to the relevant rules for this application. Tier 1 Innovator visa applications will no longer be submitted under Appendix W to the Immigration Rules. The Home Office has published a separate ‘Appendix Innovator” under the Immigration Rules specifically for Tier 1 Innovator applications. Another key change is that these applications now fall under the Point Based System and migrants will be required to score a minimum of 70 points. There is also a specific reference to the ‘Genuine Innovator requirement’ whereas the previous rules did not make specific reference to this.

How to score 70 points as a new business under the Tier 1 Innovator visa?

All applications submitted after 1 December 2020 must score 70 points to avoid refusal. You cannot combine points for ‘new business’ and ‘same business’.

RequirementPoints available
Applicants must submit a detailed Business plan outlining their business proposalNew Business10
The business venture must be recognised as innovative, viable, and scalable. This must be confirmed in the endorsement. New Business20
Applicants must provide evidence that they have access to at least £50,000 to invest or having been investedNew Business20
Applicant’s previous permission was as in the Innovator, Start-up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route and they are pursuing a business assessed by a Home Office approved endorsing body either for the previous endorsement or at a contact point.Same Business10
If applying for the same business evidence must be submitted showing that the business is active, trading, and sustainable and demonstrates significant achievements against the business planSame Business20
The applicant is active in day-to-day management and development of businessSame Business20
English Language requirement at level B2Mandatory for all applicants10
Financial requirement (i.e. maintenance)Mandatory for all applicants10
Total number of points required 70

How our immigration solicitors can help with Tier 1 Innovator applications

Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in Tier 1 Innovator applications and prepare applications to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful Tier 1 Innovator applications for a range of different clients. The key to submitting successful applications is being aware of the relevant Immigration Rules. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the application. In addition to the legal representations, our team of solicitors also provides multiple substantial reviews of the application bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the application.

Using our immigration solicitors to submit Tier 1 Innovator applications

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Tier 1 Innovator application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Tier 1 Innovator application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your Tier 1 Innovator application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Tier 1 Innovator applications with our immigration solicitors

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your Tier 1 Innovator application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice, and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to a successful Tier 1 Innovator application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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