By Sanwar Ali
There were high hopes for the UK Innovator visa and Start-Up visa schemes introduced on what was supposed to be Brexit day on 29 March 2019. However, it seems that it will be difficult to come under these schemes. The big problem is with the requirements of endorsing bodies which is likely to be tough.
In addition, the number of endorsements available is quite small, with an initial allocation of endorsements of twenty-five each for the current twenty endorsing bodies. It seems that the new schemes may turn out to be more difficult to come under than the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme that they replace.
We look below into the difficulties with obtaining endorsements for the Innovator visa and Start-Up visa schemes and also alternatives to these UK visa schemes.
Endorsement for Innovator Visa or Start-Up Visa difficult
Endorsing bodies can include incubators, accelerators, government agencies and business development organisations. There are a number of problems with being endorsed by an endorsing body:
- The small allocation of up to twenty-five endorsements each is likely to mean that the twenty current endorsing bodies will be very selective as to who they will accept.
- Some endorsement bodies may not be interested in taking up the full allocation of 25 endorsements each, so reducing the number of available endorsements even further.
- The requirement that the business will bring genuine innovation, may very well mean that in practice it will be more difficult to come under the UK Innovator and Start-Up visa scheme than the previous Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme.
- A number of endorsing bodies are only interested in those that are already in their existing incubator/accelerator programme.
- In some cases, applicants will also need to compete against UK and EEA applicants for an endorsement.
- Endorsing bodies may only be interested in taking on new people for endorsement at particular times during the year.
- Some endorsing bodies specialise in particular areas and will not be interested in the majority of new ideas for endorsement.
- Some endorsing bodies are not yet ready and are uncertain as to when they will consider applications for endorsement.
Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 visa may be an option in some circumstances
The Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 visa system may be worth considering in some circumstances. However, much of the time there are restrictions on ownership for Tier 2 visa applicants. You cannot own more than ten percent of the shares of the company that you will work for unless it is a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa, or you will earn £159,600 per annum or more under the Tier 2 General visa category. The problem with the Tier 2 Intra-Company transfer visa category is that unlike the Tier 2 General visa it does not lead to indefinite leave to remain after five years.
The sponsoring organisation will need to be operational in the UK, probably with an office, before you can come under this UK visa scheme.
Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa
The Sole Representative visa is only relevant where an overseas organisation wishes to send over a senior member of staff to set up a new office in the UK. You cannot be a majority shareholder so this will put off many businessmen wishing to come under this visa category. In addition, the business in the UK must be in a similar line of business to the overseas business, and the main business should remain outside the UK. Towards the end of five years in the UK the Sole Representative visa category usually leads to indefinite leave to remain.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa
This visa category is difficult to come under. It is only meant for those who are considered to be leaders or emerging leaders in a limited number of fields. Only a small number of “top people” can gain entry under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. It is perhaps more difficult to come under this than the Innovator and Start-Up visa categories. You have the freedom to run your own business or work for someone else under this visa category.
Tier 1 Investor visa
The Tier 1 Investor visa category requires an investment of £2 million and is therefore limited only to the very rich. Once the visa is granted you will need to invest the money in one or more active UK companies. As with the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa category, you can run your own business, work for someone else or be self employed.
Workpermit.com can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences
If you need help with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence or would like help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations workpermit.com can help. Call 0344 991 9222 for further details.
Workpermit.com has been in the visa business for more than 30 years, helping thousands of people to study, work, invest and live in the UK. We represent clients under Section 84 of the 1999 Immigration Act, and we can advise and assist with your UK visa application.