In March 2019, the Home Office announced in a Statement of Change to the Immigration Rules that the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa would close at the end of the month. Applications for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa remained open until the beginning of July 2019.
The move was sudden but not totally unexpected. The government had received recommendations to strengthen the entrepreneur visa route four years prior following a review by the Migration Advisory Authority (MAC). At the same time as announcing the closure of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, we learned that the entry routes were to be replaced by the Innovator Visa and the Startup Visa.
Before becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May was the longest-serving Home Secretary for over 60 years. She was passionate about reducing immigration to the UK. Regardless of the continous advice regarding the impossibility of her ambitions, she rigidly stuck to her goal of reducing annual immigration numbers to the tens of thousands.
In an attempt to reach this fanciful figure, Mrs May asked the MAC to review the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. The Commission was asked to consider the following matters:
"whether the existing design of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route is appropriate to deliver significant economic benefits for the UK and in particular whether:
a) the initial eligibility criterion of access to funds is a sufficient determinant of entrepreneurial ability and whether other criteria, for example, assessment of previous entrepreneurial activity and/or testing the purpose of the investment, should be applied;
b) the existing eligibility and extension criteria are aligned sufficiently with entrepreneurial and early-stage business life-cycles, including consideration of the role angel investors and crowd-funding can play;
c) the route utilises international best practice. As part of this, the MAC is requested to consider route design and incentives to ensure competitiveness."
Although the report found that many Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders had established economically viable businesses which employed settled persons, they found "migrants on Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas that do not appear to engage in much business activity of any description"; and "many examples of migrants establishing low growth potential businesses which are not especially innovative."
Furthermore, evidence showed that some migrants were using the entrepreneur route to Indefinite Leave to Remain as a cheaper alternative to the Tier 1 Investor Visa, which required funds of £2 million to qualify.
The MAC investigation also found evidence of fraudulent applications, for example, applicants submitting identical business plans and/or not investing the full £200,000 required in the business.
The MAC review made several recommendations. These included:
In the Statement of Change which introduced the Innovator Visa, Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes:
"The Start-up visa, announced by my rt hon Friend, the Home Secretary, in June 2018, will provide for those starting a new business for the first time in the UK.
The Innovator category will be for more experienced business people who have funds to invest in their business.
Both new categories will build on the endorsement model which has proved successful in our Graduate Entrepreneur and Exceptional Talent routes. Business experts, rather than the Home Office, will assess applicants' business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability, to identify those that will bring the greatest benefits to the UK. These organisations will include business accelerators, seed competitions and government agencies, as well as higher education providers."
Almost all of the MAC's recommendations were implemented into the two new visa categories. For example, an applicant for the Innovator Visa need only show access to £50,000 of investment funds as opposed to the £200,000 required under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. Furthermore, applicants will need to seek and gain endorsement from an approved body. The endorsing body will also monitor progress to ensure the visa holder's business remains innovative, viable, and scalable during the term of the visa.
The new visa routes have received some criticism from immigration Solicitors and the business community. There were concerns that few endorsing bodies were considering applications because they were not equipped to provide endorsements. For example, Tech Nation is not able to endorse applications until April 2020. You read that right. The body guaranteed to receive a large number of applications will be unable to endorse entrepreneurs wanting to enter the UK to launch their business until 12 months after the launch of the Innovator Visa. Also, hardly any guidance has been provided to endorsing bodies regarding the scope of their powers and how they should evaluate whether a business meets the endorsement requirements of innovation, viability, and scalability.
It is little wonder then that there has been low uptake for the innovator route. From March to December 2019, there were only 14 applications for the Innovator Visa. However, most of those were approved.
The Startup Visa and Innovator Visa provides many advantages over the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa for genuine, smart, ambitious entrepreneurs who want to launch in the UK market. The best way to maximise your chance of successfully obtaining endorsement and entry clearance is to work with an experienced immigration law Solicitor throughout the process.
530 ReviewsREAD ALL REVIEWS
Tier 1 Investor Visa - Business Immigration
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
Indefinite Leave to remain - UK Settlement and
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Citizenship Application - UK Naturalisation
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
Spouse Visa - Appeals and visa refusals
My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
Immigration Visa - Citizen of United Kingdom
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
UK Settlement Visa
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife�s UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
Cheap Immigration Lawyers in London
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
Top Notch Immigration Service
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
Best Immigration Solicitors
I used Reiss Edwards� immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
Indefinte Leave to remain - Individual Immigration - UK Settlement
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
Tier 2 Visa application - UK Work Visas
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
Tier 1 Investor Visa - Business Immigration
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.