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TIER 1 INNOVATOR VISA

In the recent Statement of changes HC919 published on 7 March 2019, the Home Office has finally confirmed the end of the road for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur visas. These popular business visas for entrepreneurs will no longer be available from the 29 March 2019 and they will be replaced with the Tier 1 Start-up and Tier 1 Innovator visa.

What is the Tier 1 Innovator visa?

The UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa is replaced by Tier 1 Innovator visa on 29 March 2019. The Tier 1 Innovator visa is for entrepreneurs looking to set up and establish a business in the United Kingdom. Applicants must show that their business is credible and viable and it must be endorsed by a respected and approved endorsing body.

What are the key differences between the Tier 1 Innovator visa and Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa?

Unlike the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, Applicants who wish to apply for the Tier 1 Innovator will no longer be required to invest at least £200,000 in their business. The Home Office has introduced a significant change helping potential entrepreneurs by reducing the initial investment amount from £200,000 to £50,000 for new Applicants. There will be an English language requirement of B2 and Appendix O of the Immigration Rules will continue to apply.

It also appears the Home Office will no longer carry out the Genuine Entrepreneur Test but this task will be delegated to the relevant endorsement body. This should make the actual visa application process easier and efficient. The main difference is the introduction of the “endorsement requirement” by a relevant business sponsor.

What are the requirements for a Tier 1 Innovator visa?

As mentioned above, the Tier 1 Innovator visa is for entrepreneurs who wish to set up and establish a business presence in the United Kingdom :

  • Applicants must have a credible business idea;
  • Applicants must have at least £50,000 in cash to invest in their proposed business idea;
  • Applicants must meet the English language requirement (Level B2).You can prove your knowledge of English by either:
    1. passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
    2. Having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD
    3. You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’ve already proved it to be level B2 or above in an earlier successful application
  • Applicants must meet the maintenance requirement
  • Applicants must receive a suitable endorsement

Endorsement & Endorsing Bodies for New UK Innovator Visa?

The Innovator visa will require its applicants to submit a business plan and other supporting documents in order for them to be endorsed. The endorsing bodies selected by the Home Office can be found here.

All applicants for entry clearance or leave to remain must have been endorsed in this category by an endorsing body listed on the gov.uk website. The applicant is required to apply to the relevant endorsing body in order to obtain endorsement and that would only be granted when the endorsing body carries out a full analysis of the business plan, its viability and scalability.Once endorsement is granted, the applicant can make application under Tier 1 Innovator Visa.

The endorsing bodies has specified certain requirements that they will look for which include:

  • Innovation – it is likely they will assess whether the business products, marketing or branding display any innovation. Here a focus on new methods, branding and perhaps most significantly new inventive products or services will be assessed.
  • Viability – it will not be enough to simply be innovative, it is likely that the business will need to show that it has thought about and made plans to be viable. Essentially this means a careful assessment of whether the business will be able to provide the product or service in question, and whether it will be able to maintain cash flow until profitability. It is unlikely that the business plan that does not have a clear route to profitability will be accepted.
  • Scalability – this is relevant to start-ups most of all – business plans will need to have clear goals to scale. This is relatively easy for tech companies who are built to scale up from the outset. However, all is not lost for companies in other sectors or others who are experts in other forms of businesses.

The endorsing body’s job does not end here. They have a duty to review the progress of the business in certain times and report to the home office, if it is found that applicant has not made a reasonable progress or is carrying out another business that does not meet the endorsing criteria or the application misses these checkpoints.

Fees

The fees for main applicant and any dependants applying with them will be £1021 each, if you are applying from Outside UK and £1277 each if they are switching or extending from Inside UK

In addition to this there will be IHS fees which will be £400 per year per person.

Supporting yourself/ Maintenance

You need to have had at least £945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days before you apply.

Your family members (‘dependants’) can come with you when you come to the UK on this visa. You must also have £630 for each dependant in addition to the £945 you need to support yourself for the relevant 90 day period.

Sharing investment funds

You can form a team with other Innovator applicants, but you cannot share the same investment funds.

Your team must have £50,000 for each Innovator applicant. For example, if you have 2 Innovator applicants, your team must have £100,000 to invest.

How long you can stay

You can stay for up to 3 years if you:

  • Come to the UK on an Innovator visa
  • Switch to this visa from another visa

You can apply to switch to this visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re already in the UK on one of the following visas:

  1. Start-up visa
  2. Tier 1 (GraduateEntrepreneur)
  3. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  4. Any Tier 2 visa
  5. Standard Visitor visa - if you came to the UK to get funding and had a supporting letter from an endorsing body

You can apply to extend for another 3 years when your visa is due to expire. There’s no limit on the number of times you can extend.

Settlement

You may be able to apply for settlement (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) once you’ve been in the UK for 5 years.

How long it takes

Once you submit an application ,a decision will be made on your application ( provided Home Office do not need to detailed checks) within 8 weeks.

How can we assist you

We are a specialist team of solicitors in East London. We have maintained a 99% success rate all through in our previous Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications. 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 Tier 1 Innovator visa application and the merit of an application before your application even been submitted.We are a specialist team of solicitors in East London. We have maintained a 99% success rate all through in our previous Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications. 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 Tier 1 Innovator visa application and the merit of an application before your application even been submitted.

We can assist you with the preparation of your Tier 1 Innovator visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules and providing the best outcome of the application.

Note: Your personal savings must not include money used as the basis of your points claim to have £200,000 in investment funds.

Contact our solicitor immediately for legal advice and you need to take action in timely,
Call us on 020 3130 1747 or E-Mail us at info@legendsolicitors.org

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