Monday, 11 March 2019

New business visa rules from 29 March 2019: end of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)



The UK Government has published the new rules for UK business visas, in force from 29 March 2019. These changes only apply if you are planning to apply for Entrepreneur visa for the first time. If you already have a Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Graduate Entrepreneur visas, you will be able to continue to settlement under the current ‘old’ rules. 

If you are planning to apply under the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur rules, you need to submit the online form and pay UK Government fees by 28 March 2019. 

Summary of changes from 29 March 2019: 

#1 New categories: Start-up and Innovator visas replace Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Entrepreneur respectively. Start-up is for those starting a   business in the UK for the 1sttime. Open to all, not just graduates on Tier 4 visas. 
Innovator visa is for experienced business people, and it will lead to settlement after minimum 3 years (or any time later when you have met the criteria). 

#2 Endorsement:is required for all applications, from initial visa to extension, to ILR and even to change a business activity. The biggest change is your business plan won’t be assessed by the Government officials (who never run a business themselves) but by endorsing bodies, ‘business experts’. Who exactly - remains to be confirmed but they will be organisations like seed funding competitions. It is a logical development, although for the applicants it means working harder to ‘sell’ their business ideas. 

#3 Money:£50,000 for Innovators (down from £200,000 as was for Entrepreneurs) but cannot share within entrepreneurial team anymore. If you have a team, you need £50,000 per person. No minimum amount for Start-ups and potentially when switching from Start-up to Innovator. Of course, you still need enough funds to support your business plan. 

#4 English:up to B2 level.

#5 Business idea:the 3 criteria are as follows (they are not very specific, though): 

Innovation:you have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage. 

Viability:you have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business. In case of Strat-up, can be ‘actively developing’ such skills. 

Scalability:there is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets (‘and international markets’, in case of Innovator visa).   

If you think your business idea isn’t likely to fit – apply before 29 March 2019 under the current rules! 

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