Home Office Updates Business Immigration Routes

Home Office Updates Business Immigration Routes

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Tanya Laidlaw  Immigration Partner 

On 7 March 2019 the Home Office announced a new set of amendments to business immigration routes available to nationals from outside the European Economic Area. We bring you the key details of the change.

Start-up visa will replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa route on 6 July 2019

  • The Start-up visa officially launched on 29 March and is intended for applicants wishing to start a business in the UK for the first time
  • Applicants will not need to be graduates and will not need to have secured any initial funding
  • Successful applicants will be granted 2 years on the visa and will be able to progress into the Innovator category to continue developing their business in the UK after that time
  • The Start-up visa route in itself does not lead to settlement in the UK
  • The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa route is going to close on 6 July 2019 — applications can continue to be made before that time

Innovator visa replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route on 29 March 2019

  • The Innovator visa has replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route for all applicants who first apply after 29 March 2019; for existing Tier 1 Entrepreneurs, leave to remain applications are open until 5 April 2023 and indefinite leave to remain applications until 5 April 2025
  • The new route is designed for experienced entrepreneurs and entrepreneur teams and will assess the applicant’s business idea against innovation, viability and scalability benchmarks
  • The applicant’s business idea will need to be endorsed by a relevant endorsing body; Tech Nation has currently been confirmed as an endorsing body for digital entrepreneurs
  • Applicants will need to place £50,000 in investment funds; alternatively, this requirement may be waived for applicants switching from the Start-up visa who have made significant progress against their business plan objectives

Investor visa conditions tightened on 29 March 2019

  • Source of funds: Investors must provide evidence of the source of any investment funds they have obtained within the last two years before their application (up from 90 days)
  • Time funds are held: Investors must have held the funds for a consecutive two-year period before they apply
  • Bank checks: UK banks have a requirement to confirm they have carried out the checks they are required to make before opening an investment account
  • No investment in government bonds: Applicants will no longer be allowed to invest in UK government bonds unless their initial grant of leave was as a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant under the Immigration Rules in place before 29 March 2019 and the date of application is before 6 April 2023
  • Investment in companies made stricter: The rules around investment in companies have become stricter, with longer definitions of active and trading UK registered companies

For existing Tier 1 Entrepreneurs, visa extension applications are open until 5 April 2023 and indefinite leave to remain (settlement) applications can be made until 5 April 2025.

Key contact: Tanya Laidlaw, James Clark

Connect with Tanya Laidlaw on LinkedIn or at tlaidlaw@quastels.com