New Start-Up Visa
The Statement of Changes HC1919 has introduced major changes to UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. The Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules published by the Home Office on the 7 March, 2019 will take effect on 29 March 2019. With the new changes in effect, Appendix W will now replace the defunct Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. With the new addition of Appendix W to the UK Immigration Rules, the Entrepreneur route is planned to be completely scrapped. Currently, two new visa categories for workers are added in the Appendix W, which are the Start-up route and the Innovator route.
The UK Government has termed the Start-up visa route as an expanded version of the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Route, whereas now non-graduates may apply under this newly introduced category. Additionally, the approved bodies that endorse such businesses are increased so that would far more likely allow people to access this visa route.
Those individuals who seek to establish business for the first time in the UK can ideally avail the Start-Up Visa Route. It is required that business plans must be endorsed by the approved body and they need to be ‘Innovative, Viable and Scalable’. It is considered that Start-Up route is for applicants with not much business experience and young people are the targeted group. With the new rule in effect, Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route has been replaced by the new Start-Up category.
Applicants eligible for the Start-Up Visa Route as given in Appendix W are;
- You are 18 years of age or above
- The specified evidential documents provided
- Applicant does not need to be a graduate
- You must not be in breach of the UK Immigration laws
- Credibility assessment must be satisfied by the applicant
- Applicant must be required to have the CEFR B2 level of English language ability to meet the English Language Requirement
- Applicant is not required to be the sole founder of the business as he can be part of another entrepreneurial team
- You must have the maintenance funds of £945, but applicant is exempted if the endorsing body confirm funding him of the required amount
- Applicants must be endorsed by the approved body as listed
The requirements for business venture laid out in Appendix W for Start-Up Visa applicants must essentially fulfilled. Business plans must be Innovative, Viable and Scalable.
- Innovation is described as that applicants have a original and genuine business plans that meets the needs of the existing or new market, and gaining competitive advantage
- The criteria of viability can be met if the person applying has or in the process of developing the required knowledge, skills, market awareness and experience to operate the business successfully
- For scalability, there must structured evidence in business plans for the growth into the national markets and potential for job creation
It is required that applicants needs to show that they will spend the majority of their working time in the UK for the development of the business ventures and they must reasonable satisfy the concerned endorsing body. An applicant will be subjected to pass the credibility assessment in order to secure their application under Start-Up route. The credibility assessment is likely to be decided on the balance of probabilities and it is the most subjective part of the application, so it should be handled well by providing relevant evidence in order to prove your credibility. The investment criteria for Start-Up visa category will not require applicants to secure funding initially for getting their visa. Moreover, it is needed that the evidence of maintenance funding of at least £945 is shown and it must be held by the applicant for 90 days but this evidence may not be provided if the applicant has this fund awarded from their sponsor.
Applicants’ business plans as needed to be sponsored by the approved business or educational body and other related documents should be provided. An applicant must meet the English language requirement of CEFR B2, whereas earlier a lower level of English requirement was needed at CEFR B1 under Graduate Entrepreneur route. For the Start-up visa endorsement letter needs to be provided at both settlement and extension stage.
The duration of the Start-Up visa is 2 years, which is increased now as it was one year only under graduate entrepreneur route. In this way more time is provided to people and businesses to be developed and expanded. It allows the person also to consider switching up to the Innovator Visa after the end of the period of 2 years.
Work and Settlement
The Start-Up Route will be endorsed by the business experts and bodies instead of the Home Office, in order to assess the business ideas of the applicants. As this way it will be ensured that most scalable, viable and innovative businesses are being focused through these new visa routes. It is clearly confirmed by the UK Government that the Start-Up Visa will not be leading to permanent settlement in the UK, after getting your visa. Applicants will be able to bring in their family members or dependants with the same UK immigration rules as currently applied to UK immigrant workers. Moreover, after the end of your two years period, visa can be upgraded to Innovator Route, which may lead to direct permanent settlement in the UK.
How to switch it to Innovator Visa
After getting visa through Start-Up Route, if a person wishes to switch to Innovator Route then he must be eligible after the end of his two year period, subject to fulfillment of two requirements. Additionally, an endorsement letter will be required for settlement at this stage. If the applicant’s business under Start-Up Route achieves two of the following requirements then he may be able to successfully apply for settlement.
- The applicant’s business has been successful in creating at least 5 full-time jobs or its equivalent for workers residing in the UK, providing an average salary of about £25,000 or above per annum (excluding expenses, gross pay)
- At least equivalent of 10 full-time jobs for residing workers has been created by the applicant’s business
- With minimum of £500,000 annual gross revenue must be generated in the last full year covered by its accounts, while getting at least £100,000 from overseas exports
- Annual gross revenue of minimum £1 million must be generated by the applicant’s business in the last full year covered by its accounts
- Business has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK and has been involved in significant development and research activity
- Minimum of £50,000, is already invested in the applicant’s business and business plan is actively being furthered through this funding, which is assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement
- Within the most recent last 3 years, applicant’s business customers has to be at least doubled and presently having higher that the mean number of customers as compared to other businesses in the UK market offering similar main services or products