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Implications of the New Innovator Visa Immigration Route for Current Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Holders

With the introduction of a new visa route for entrepreneurs in the UK (the Innovator Visa), existing Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders may be concerned as to how the changes will affect their future. The ability for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders to remain in the UK is key to them being able to run their business and ensure its long-term stability. It is also vital for them to be able to have long-term security and have the ability to settle. In this article we are going to look at how the proposed changes to the UK's visa system will affect those who are already in the UK on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. We are also going to take a look at the new visa that has replaced it and see the differences that have been introduced by the Home Office.

Why Has the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Been Changed?

The Home Office has decided to change the way in which entrepreneurs can enter the UK. The changes have been needed due to the high bar of entry that affected the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. Now, entrepreneurs can apply to start their business in the UK with as little as 50,000 worth of investible capital rather than the previous 200,000. This one key change, along with a few smaller ones, will help to drive a new era of entrepreneurial immigration that could make a huge difference to the British economy.

While the former Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa route was useful, it does seem that the Home Office have gone back to the drawing board with both the Innovator Visa and the Start-up Visa. One of the biggest issues with the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa was in the way that businesses were assessed. Assessment previously was undertaken by staff at the Home Office. While uniquely qualified to assess immigration cases, the Home Office staff are not business experts. The assessment process was flawed, and the concern is that many of the businesses that were approved were perhaps not needed or were not of sufficient quality. There is also the concern that many good entrepreneurs were turned away due to the Home Office not being fit to assess their business idea properly or understand the markets. This process has now been replaced by an endorsement system. This system means that businesses are independently assessed on their merits and if suitable, they will receive the endorsement that is required to progress with their Innovator Visa application.

How Will the Introduction of the Innovator Visa Affect My Ability to Extend My Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?

In short, the introduction of the new visa route will have no effect on those currently on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. The current visa scheme is gradually being phased out, and those on the visa will be able to extend their current visa until the 5th of April 2023. There is also an extension to the settlement time limit to 5th April 2025. This is so those currently, or are about to arrive, on the visa can extend their visa and then settle after 5 years in the UK. This extension allows for a smooth transition between those on the current scheme and those who will need to use the new one.

Will I Still Be Able to Apply For Indefinite Leave to Remain From My Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?

Yes. The Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) cut off for the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is the 5th of April 2025. This ensures that all of those who are currently on the visa, and those who are about to arrive in the UK on the current visa scheme, have the opportunity to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) at the end of a 5 year period in the UK.

Can I Still Apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa?

Unfortunately you can no longer apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa as the route has been permanently closed. If you want to move to the UK, you will now need to apply for either the Start-up Visa or the Innovator Visa (both of which we have touched upon already). The two new routes are aimed at either those who are new to entrepreneurialism (Start-up Visa), or those with a little more experience (Innovator Visa). Wherever you are in your business journey, the UK has opened a route for you to be able to get your idea off of the ground.

If you are looking to go down either of these routes, you need to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for either of them. Both routes require that you gain an endorsement from an appropriate organisation (either a higher education institutions and business organisations such as accelerators). You will also need a good level of English language skill. The main difference in the routes is the funding requirement. On the Start-up Visa, you will not need any seed funding (but this affects your later prospects), but on the Innovator Visa you will need 50,000. For more information on either of the new visa routes, get in touch today and our team will be happy to tell you more.

Where Can I Find Out More About How the Innovator Visa Will Affect Me?

If you want more information on either the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, or indeed the new Innovator Visa then please get in touch. Our experienced team of immigration specialists can help you with any visa query that you may have. From applications to representing you at a tribunal, our full service offering comprises everything that you could possibly need in your immigration journey. So for more information, or to get started using our services, get in touch today and a member of our team will be more than happy to help you to get started.

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