From today, 29 March 2019, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route is no longer available to new applicants. Instead, the brand new Tier 1 Innovator Visa has been launched for experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK. Appendix W of the Immigration Rules has been updated to include the provisions for the new visa as was announced in the recent Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules. Amendments have also therefore been made to Appendices A, E and V of the Immigration Rules, as well as parts 5, 6A and 8 of the Immigration Rules as a result of this new visa category. It is anticipated that other categories for workers will be added to Appendix W, as the UK’s immigration system is reformed over time.
What is the new Tier 1 Innovator Visa?
The new Tier 1 Innovator Visa has replaced the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, for high net worth individuals who wish to establish a business presence in the UK. Unlike the previous route, Applicants must show they have at least £50,000 in investment funds in order to set up a new business. The investment funds can come from any source and Applicants who wish to invest in an already established business which has been endorsed for an earlier visa, do not need any investment funds. The Applicant does not need to be the sole founder of the business and may be a member of an entrepreneurial team.
Before making the application, Applicants will need to have their business or business idea endorsed by a Home Office approved Innovator Endorsing Body. The endorsement body is an organisation which has been approved by the Home Office to endorse Applicants in the relevant category.
If the endorsement body believes the business is viable, then they will provide an endorsement letter confirming the venture meets the endorsement criteria of Appendix W of the Immigration Rules. If the Applicant’s last grant of leave was in the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Start-up or Innovator category, the endorsement does not need to be from the same endorsing body as the endorsement which led to that grant of leave.
The endorsing body must not have withdrawn the endorsement by the time the application is considered by the Home Office decision maker.
What are the main requirements for the new Tier 1 Innovator Visa?
As mentioned above, Applicants will first need to obtain an endorsement. Applicants who are investing in a new business will need to demonstrate that their business idea is innovative, scalable and viable:
Innovation – The Applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
Viability – The Applicant has the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.
Scalability – There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.
Applicants will also need to demonstrate that the investment funds are available and that they can meet the maintenance requirement and English language requirement at a minimum level of B2. The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will also need to be paid.
What are the main permitted and prohibited activities of the new Tier 1 Innovator visa?
As with all UK Visas, there are specific activities that a migrant can and cannot do in the UK on the new business visa. The main permitted and prohibited activities of this new visa are outlined as follows:
- Applicants can set up a business or several businesses in the UK;
- Applicants can work for their business, which includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership;
- Have family members join them in the UK.
- Applicants cannot do any work outside their business, such as being employed by another business;
- Applicants cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson such as a sports coach;
- Applicants are not entitled to receive public funds.
There are also settlement options available to Innovator applicants and their family members.
It is important that Applicants are aware of their visa conditions and restrictions. Potential Innovators should contact our business immigration team to arrange a consultation in order to fully understand the new Innovator Visa and requirements under Appendix W as well as find out more about the bespoke service we offer in relation to the preparation and submission of UK Visa applications.
Using Legal Representation to submit an Innovator Visa application in accordance with Appendix W of the Immigration Rules
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a UK Visa application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules for a visa 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 application succeeds and meets the requirements, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence in support of your application. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Applications in accordance with Appendix W of the Immigration Rules
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 UK Visa application and the merit of an application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation 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. 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 visa 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 the new visa route.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.