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    Important Changes to UK Immigration Rules: Introduction of Innovator Founder Route, Electronic Travel Authorisation, and More


    On March 9, 2023, the UK government released the Statement of Changes HC1160, which includes important updates to the UK Immigration Rules. The changes are primarily related to the implementation of Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETA), the introduction of the Innovator Founder Route, and updates to the employment requirements in work routes.

    The Innovator Founder Route replaces the existing Innovator and Start-up routes, with the aim of providing more flexibility to those with genuine proposals for innovative businesses and sufficient funds to deliver them. The route removes the requirement for a minimum fund of £50,000 and relaxes restrictions on innovators engaging in skilled employment outside the running of their business. Route to open from 13 April 2023, the Startup route will no longer be available from the date.

    The Electronic Travel Authorisation Scheme (ETA) will be introduced to ensure that everyone except British and Irish citizens wishing to travel to the UK has permission to do so in advance. This scheme will be implemented in a phased manner, with visitors from Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia being the first to benefit from it in October 2023.

    The changes to work routes include updated salary requirements for skilled work immigration routes based on the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings data, as well as new requirements related to the National Minimum Wage and Working Time regulations.

    The Youth Mobility Scheme for New Zealand Nationals has also been enhanced, allowing young people between the ages of 18-35 to apply for a three-year visa to work and/or study in the UK.

    Finally, the Statement provides clarification for those submitting applications to the EU Settlement Scheme as durable partners, emphasizing that only those with another lawful basis of stay in the UK before the end of the transition period can rely on that residence. If you have any questions or need advice related to these changes, please contact the Sterling Law Immigration team.

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