On 7th March 2019, the UK government set out new rules with many of the changes coming into force from 29th March 2019.
What is a Start-Up Visa?
One of the changes to the rule is the closure of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route, and two new categories have been created: Start-Up Visa and the Innovator Visa.
The new rules say that the Start-Up Visa ‘’category is an expanded version of the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category. It is for those starting a new business for the first time in the UK. Applicants will not need to be graduates and will not need to have secured any initial funding. Successful applicants will be granted 2 years’ leave (doubled from 1 year) and will be able to progress into the Innovator category to continue developing their businesses in the UK after that time.’’
This route is for those that want to start a business in the UK for the first time. There is no need for the applicant to hold a certain degree or qualification or have secured any initial funding.
What must the applicant provide?
To apply under this category, the applicant must show, in a business plan, that their business idea is:
Innovative. The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.
Viable. The applicant has the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.
Scalable. There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.
How is this Start-Up visa assessed?
The applicant’s business idea needs to be endorsed by a UK trusted body such as business accelerators, seed competitions and government agencies, as well as higher education providers. The endorsed body will assess the business idea for innovation, viability and scalability.
If satisfied, the endorsed body will issue an endorsement letter, which must be used within three months of submitting your application. What else does the applicant need to prove?
The applicant needs to be over 18 to apply under this category.
The applicant must pass B2 level of English language ability. Alternatively, this rule is met if the applicant:
- is from a majority speaking English country.
- have a degree that was taught in English.
- met the requirement in a previous successful application.
This level of English is set so that the applicant can ‘have the good command of English they will need to interact with a variety of business organisations and potential customers.’
The applicant also needs to satisfy the credibility assessment.
The applicant must have at least £945 in their account consecutively for 90 days to meet the maintenance requirement.
Finally, the applicant must not be in breach of any immigration laws and or fall for refusal under the general grounds. The applicant can include family members.
What are the restrictions on the applicant once the application is approved?
Once the application is successful, the applicant will be subject to the following conditions:
- no employment as a doctor or dentist in training.
- no employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).
- no recourse to public funds.
- if applicable, register with the police.
- the applicant can study, subject to certain conditions.
Once the Start-Up Migrant visa is granted, the applicant will need to keep in touch with their endorsing body after 6 and 12 months.
The endorsing body must satisfy themselves that the applicant is progressing with their business or are pursuing a new business idea which is also innovative, viable and scalable.
If the endorsing body is not satisfied with the progress, they can withdraw their endorsement, which means that the applicant’s Start-Up Migrant visa is curtailed.
The maximum leave that is granted under the Start-Up visa is two years. Before the expiry of this leave, the applicant is expected to move to the Innovator Visa.
WH Solicitors have extensive experience in helping business people to come to the UK and set up a business. Contact us if you require help and guidance to obtain a Start-Up Migrant Visa.