Human Rights
By Conal McGarrity
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Changes to UK Immigration Law for Entrepreneur Visa’s

The Tier 1 Visa aimed at entrepreneur’s from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) has recently changed to include two separate categories for Visa applications; ‘Start up’ Visas and an ‘Innovator’ Visa. This has caused some confusion in an area of Immigration law that was already quite complex. While the requirements for the new Visas are similar to that under the old system, there are some key differences that I will explain. 

The Home Office guidance for entrepreneur’s seeking to establish a business in the UK states that ‘applicants must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which has been assessed and supported by an approved endorsing body’. 

All applicants must meet the English language requirements, have sufficient funds for their own maintenance, have an endorsement from a relevant body and be over the age of 18. 

All applicants to the Start-up and Innovator Visas require endorsement. Your endorsing body must confirm that the applicant has not previously established a business in the UK and must be reasonably satisfied that the applicant will spend the majority of their time in the UK developing their business ventures.

Common endorsing bodies in the UK include The Bakery, Invest NI and the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator. An investment of at least £50,000 will be needed from your endorsing body for both a Start-up and Innovator Visa application to be successful. 

At PA Duffy and Company our expert Immigration lawyers can guide you through this complicated process and can help you to prepare applications and appeals. We specialise in all areas of Immigration law and can help you to understand the new Immigration rules and what is required of applicants. 

If, for example, you are already on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa or another relevant Visa and are in the UK we can advise you on the possibility for switching to the new system of Start-up or Innovator Visas.

You are permitted to bring dependants with you on a Start-up or Innovator Visa. However, as well as providing evidence that you have at least £945 available for your own maintenance, you will also need at least £630 for each dependant you wish to bring. Your dependants can be a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner or dependent children. 

For both the Start-up and Innovator Visa, applicants are allowed to study in the UK, provided that it does not prevent the applicant from meeting the relevant criteria for their Visas. Applicants are not, however, permitted to take up a contract of employment with another business that is not engaged in the genuine entrepreneurial activity for which the Visa was granted. 

With the Start-up Visa successful applicants can expect to be granted entry clearance for a period of two years, which can later be extended. Successful applicants to the Innovator Visa can expect leave to remain to be granted for 3 years.

At PA Duffy and Company our expert Immigration solicitors can advise you on your eligibility for the new entrepreneur Visa categories. We can prepare an application on your behalf to ensure that the requirements are fully complied with.

If your application is rejected we can also advise applicants on their grounds for appeal and, if necessary, appeal the decision to refuse on their behalf. 

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