Significant changes are happening to the Entrepreneur and Investor visa. Tier 1 Entrepreneur category will no longer exist from 29 March 2019, while Tier 1 will undergo significant changes.
The immigration minister says that the Entrepreneur route “has a long tail of low-quality projects which contribute little or nothing to the wider UK economy”.
In place of the entrepreneur comes the innovator:
The Innovator category is intended for more experienced business people. As well as an endorsement, applicants will need £50,000 to invest in their business from any legitimate source (reduced from £200,000 for most applicants in the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category). The funding requirement will be waived for those switching from the Start-up category who have made significant achievements against their business plans. The category may lead to a settlement in the UK.
Again, the new Appendix W gives the details. The three main endorsement criteria are defined as follows:
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.
Note that these are slightly different from the requirements for start-up visas, although the three headings are the same. The endorser must also be “reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend the majority of their working time in the UK on developing business ventures”.
Unlike with the exceptional talent visa route, there is no set list of organisations that can endorse someone for an innovator visa. Endorsing bodies must be able to satisfy the criteria in Part W6.8, though.
Extension applications for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants will remain open until 5 April 2023, and settlement applications until 5 April 2025.
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