The endorsement requirement in Tier 1 Start-up and Tier 1 Innovator visas

The Tier 1 Start-up and Tier 1 Innovator visas are for non-EEA nationals’ entrepreneurs looking to set up and establish a business presence in the United Kingdom. These new visas have replaced the former Tier 1 Entrepreneur/Graduate Entrepreneur visa routes. For both new routes, Applicants must secure an endorsement from a Home Office approved endorsing body. The Home Office will no longer participate in reviewing the business concepts as the endorsing body will assess business ideas on behalf of the Home Office.  This is a massive advantage for Applicants as their business will now be assessed by industry experts with years of experience and knowledge. This change should reduce the number failed applications as the endorsing bodies are impartial and they have no ulterior agenda such as meeting net migration figures. Both the Tier 1 Start-up and Tier 1 Innovator visa applications are made under Appendix W of the Immigration Rules.

Endorsement requirement – What are the Tier 1 Start-up and Tier 1 Innovator visas?

The Tier 1 Start-up visa has replaced the former Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.  The Tier 1 start-up visa is for early stage or new entrants who are starting a business in the United Kingdom for the first time. The visa is valid for up to two years and there is an option available to extend the visa. The Tier 1 Innovator visa has replaced the former Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. The Tier 1 Innovator visa for experience business people seeking to establish a business in the United Kingdom and they must have at least £50,000 available to invest in their idea. The funding can from an endorsing body or it can be the Applicants own funds. Successful Innovators will be granted an initial visa for 3 years. Family members can accompany Applicants under both routes.  Both visa routes must receive an endorsement from an approved endorsing body.

What is the role of the endorsement body?

The role of the endorsement body is to assess an Applicants business idea to see whether it has the ingredients to be successful. In the past, this assessment was carried out by the Home Office but they often struggled to understand complicated business ideas or in some scenarios the logistics of business especially the financial side. The Home Office has now delegated the assessment task to specialists (approved endorsing bodies) so that the best and most talented businesspeople are given the opportunity to fulfil their dreams. When assessing business ideas the endorsement body will take into considering the following.

The first point of consideration is whether the Applicants can demonstrate that their business idea is genuine and original. The business idea can be for a tangible product based business or a service related business. The second point of consideration is whether the Applicants can demonstrate that their business is practical and credible. Applicants would be required to show that they have the expertise or specialist knowledge of their chosen business field to enable the business to success. Applicants must prepare and submit a well-drafted business plan to show that the business has a clear vision and all the relevant considerations such as start-up costs, target market, market segmentation and competition have been taken into consideration. The business plan should also show the projected cash flow forecast for the first 3 years for the business. Information on other relevant factors such as strengths and weakness of the business and the impact of future growth/decline of the business sector they wish to operate in. The third point of consideration is whether Applicants can show that their business idea will benefit the economy in the United Kingdom and the business will contribute to job creation and growth into relevant markets.

Who are the endorsement bodies?

An endorsement body must be approved by the Home Office and has a specific list of tasks it must carry out. The endorsement body will not make immigration decisions or police the immigration system.  The primary role of the endorsement body is to issue endorsements to Applicants based on the Home Office’s guidance and to maintain communication with the innovator following the grant of the visa to monitor progress. Endorsing bodies include leading incubators, accelerators, government agencies and business development organisations. The main requirement is that you must have a proven track record of supporting UK entrepreneurs, including resident workers. In the Start-up category, higher education institutions can also become endorsing bodies.

Please click here to see a list of endorsement bodies for new entrants applying under the Tier 1 Start-up visa or click here to see a list of endorsement bodies for Tier 1 Innovators.

What are the different types of endorsement?

The type of endorsement you apply for depends on the type of application. There are four different types of endorsements. The first is the Tier 1 Start-up which is for new entrants who wish to establish a new business in the United Kingdom. The second is for Tier 1 Innovators who wish to establish a new business in the United Kingdom and have access to at least £50,000 to invest in their proposed idea. The third is for Tier 1 Innovators who are applying using the same business as a previous endorsement (they may have been on a Tier 1 Start-up previously). The fourth is for Innovators who are looking to apply for a settlement visa (indefinite leave to remain).

Using Legal Representation to submit a Tier 1 Start-up or Innovator endorsement application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a Tier 1 endorsement. Our Solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject visa applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Immigration & Visa application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully apply for a Tier 1 Start-up or Innovator endorsement

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 prospects of submitting a Tier 1 endorsement application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a Tier 1 endorsement application and are able to advise you in respect of your prospects and to ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices 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.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. 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 to discuss a Tier 1 endorsement application.

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

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