It isn’t that long ago that we reported on the introduction of the Start-up visa and Innovator visa. These visas were introduced as part of the government campaign to attract the ‘’brightest and best’’ to set up business in the UK. The government has announced changes to the eligibility criteria for the Start-up and the Innovator visa. These changes will come into force on the 4 June 2020. In this blog we look at the planned changes to the Start-up and Innovator visa eligibility criteria.
Start-up visa and Innovator visa solicitors
If you need help with a Start-up visa or Innovator visa application then the business immigration solicitors at the Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession recommended OTS Solicitors can help you.
Changes to the Innovator visa and Start-up visa routes
The Statement of Changes to the immigration Rules dated May 2020 introduces some key changes to applications for both Start-up visas and Innovator visas. The changes will be introduced on the 4 June 2020 and are summarised here:
Requests for information from an Endorsing Body
Home Office officials deciding if Start-up visa or Innovator visa candidates meet the eligibility criteria will be able to request further information or evidence from the visa applicant or the Endorsing Body that endorsed the visa application.
Prior to the immigration Rule changes, endorsement by the Endorsing Body was effectively a ‘’passport‘’ to the second stage of the visa application process. After the 4 June, Home Office caseworkers will be able to ask questions and raise concerns if they don’t think that the endorsement by an Endorsing Body has been issued appropriately to the Start-up visa or Innovator applicant.
The rules provide that at the second stage of the Start-up and Innovator visa application process a Home Office official will be able to refuse the visa application if they are not satisfied the endorsement criteria set by the Endorsing Body have been met.
Start-up visa and Innovator visa solicitors are disappointed by this change to the immigration Rules as it almost calls into question the independence and professionalism of the Home Office approved Endorsing Bodies.
The Endorsing Bodies were set up as the specialist and neutral arbiters of whether the visa applicant’s new business had the necessary attributes to secure a Start-up visa or Innovator visa. Endorsing Bodies were widely applauded as a far better and more robust assessment of a business than review by a Home Office caseworker without the specialist sector or business knowledge. There was approval of the two stage assessment process but the immigration Rule changes blur the boundaries between the two stage processes.
Business immigration solicitors are also pointing out that the ability to question the decision of the Endorsing Body has only been brought in for the Start-up visa and Innovator visa and has not been extended to cover the Global Talent visa. To some that doesn’t make a lot of sense as one would think that if the Home Office has question marks over the endorsement process it would extend to all three visa routes.
Higher Education Institutions as Endorsing Bodies
At present, Higher Education Institutions can only qualify as an Endorsing Body for the Start-up visa. When the new immigration Rules are brought in, educational institutions will also be able to secure approval as Endorsing Bodies for the Innovator visa.
The Start-up visa and Innovator visa viability eligibility criteria
All applicants for the Start-up and the Innovator visa have to be endorsed by a Home Office approved Endorsing Body who has to assess the visa applicant’s business ideas for:
The “viability” criteria for both the Start-up visa and the Innovator visa has been amended to change the wording to say that the applicant’s business plan must be realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources.
Innovator visa and already trading business
An Innovator visa applicant can now apply for a visa if their business is already trading provided that they were one of the founders of the business.
Changing business venture
The new immigration Rules will clarify that Start-up and Innovator visa applicants can change their business venture provided that the Endorsing Body is satisfied the new venture meets all of the eligibility criteria. That means that visa applicants won't have to apply for fresh endorsement or submit a new visa application.
The Start-up visa and Innovator visa business plan
Founders of their business
Relying on their own business plans and have generated the ideas in the business plan or made a significant contribution to those ideas
Responsible for executing the business plan.
Business immigration solicitors assume that theses immigration Rule changes are being brought in to avoid the scenario where a visa applicant relies on someone else to come up with a business idea, then employs a business plan writer to prepare the business plan forming the basis of the endorsement process for the Start-up or Innovator visa, and once they have secured their visa employs a manager to execute the business plan.
Start-up visa and Innovator visa solicitors say it is best to take early legal advice if you are thinking about applying for a Start-up or an Innovator visa to get guidance on the professional help you can seek when drawing up your business plan and executing your business ideas. That is because whilst you may be a brilliant Entrepreneur with a very innovative business idea you may not be the best at writing a business plan. Likewise, whilst you may be excellent in design and product development, your skills may not lie in sales or business figures. The changes to the immigration Rules don’t mean that you can't rely on professional help where you need it as, after all, the Start-up and the Innovator visa were designed to attract those with entrepreneurial spirit wanting to start up business in the UK.
Start-up visa and Innovator visa solicitors
Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession recommended central London OTS Solicitors specialise in business immigration visas. The Start-up visa and Innovator visa solicitors can guide you through the changes to the immigration Rules and help you secure your Start-up visa or Innovator visa.
With a vast amount of experience in representing Start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, our London business immigration solicitors understand the needs of entrepreneurs for no nonsense clear immigration advice tailored to personal and business needs.
Call us on 0203 959 9123 to discuss how our experienced London Start-up visa and Innovator visa solicitors can help you or complete the online enquiry form . Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or telephone appointments.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
We are one of the UK’s top firms for immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, Student Visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, asylum and Human Rights, British citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, entrepreneur visas and Investor Visas.
Our top immigration solicitors and lawyers are here to assist you.
Disclaimer: The information and comments on this page/site is made available free of charge and for educational and information purposes only. The information and comments do not amount to and are not intended to be adopted as legal advice to any individual or company. The use of this site should not be a substitute for specific legal advice, which we ask you to see our contact page or call our solicitors on 0203 959 9123.
By using this site you understand that there is no solicitor and client relationship between you/your company and the site owners or the firm. We make every effort to keep the published articles up-to-date and accurate, however the law changes very rapidly and the older the articles on this site, the more likely that the views in it have changed with the development of the law.
Posted on: Wednesday, 20 May, 2020