Introduction of the new UK Tier 1 – Innovator Visa – March 2019

From 29 March 2019 the UK government published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, which has reformed Tier 1 (Investor) into the new category of ‘Innovator.’

The Innovator Visa category is intended for non-EEA nationals who are experienced businesspersons seeking to establish a business in the UK.

To be eligible for an Innovator Visa, applicants will need to invest at least £50,000 into your business from a legitimate source if you are:

  • Applying for the first time for Innovator Visa from oversea;
  • Applying for the first time within the UK and currently have Leave as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Tier 2 General Migrant, Tier 2 ICT Migrant or Prospective Entrepreneur;
  • Applying for the first time within the UK and you have Leave as Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-Up and you are seeking to extend your stay with Innovator Visa category in order to pursue a new business venture;
  • Already holding a Leave as Innovator and seeking to extend your Innovator Leave in order to pursue a new business venture.

Investment funding requirement will be waived where:

  • You are switching from Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up and are seeking to extend your stay under the Innovator Visa category in order to pursue the same business venture.

All applicants will need to be endorsed by an approved UK Endorsing Body. However, the nature of the endorsement will vary depending on your current immigration status and whether you are seeking to set up a new business or remain running the same business.

To be eligible for a Innovator Visa, applicant will be required to be endorsed by an endorsing body. The endorsing body will need to be satisfied that:

  • Your business ideas are innovation, viability and scalability at the point of initial application.
  • You have made significant achievements against your business plan and whether your businesses are trading when application is made. 
  • Your business ventures meet at least two of a range of seven eligibility criteria when applying for settlement.

For instance, endorsing body is to be satisfied that you are registered with Companies House as a Director or Member of your business. The business is currently active, trading and the business appears sustainable for at least 12 months.

Further, you must demonstrate to have an active key role into the day-to-day management, development of the business and you will spend your entire working time in the UK on developing your business venture(s).

Where you have previously had a Leave as Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-Up and you are seeking to extend your stay with an Innovator Visa while pursuing the same business venture, then you can choose whether you wish to be endorsed.

For further advice and assistance regarding applications for Innovator Visa or other Visa enquiries, please contact our office in London on 0844 351 1001 or email info@egyptlaw.uk