UK introduces two new types of visas for entrepreneur
As of 29 March 2019, two new types of visas for entrepreneurs from non-EEA countries are available in the United Kingdom. The Innovator Tier 1 visa, previously known as the Entrepreneur visa is designed for experienced entrepreneurs who wish to set up a new business or to manage an already established innovative company in Britain. To qualify for the visa, applicants should invest GBP 50,000 into business, which is significantly lower than GBP 200,000 previously required for entrepreneur visas. Applicants are also required to have their businesses and business ideas assessed and endorsed by a government-approved body.
The Tier 1 Start-Up visa replaced the Graduate Entrepreneur visa and is aimed at those setting up their first business in the UK. Applicants do not need to be college graduates or to prove financial assets for the first investment, but the business idea should be endorsed by a renowned British business accelerator, a government agency, or a higher education institution. Later, the participants of this program will be required to invest GBP 50,000 to their start-up from any legal source.
Business ideas in both new tiers are assessed from the point of innovation, viability, and scalability. All candidates should prove their English skills on an upper intermediate level (B2).
The UK Innovator Program will give successful applicants a three-year residence permit and the right to apply for an extension for the next three years or to settle permanently in the UK under indefinite leave to remain.
The Start-Up visa is issued for two years and cannot be extended. Therefore, its holders should apply for another type of visa after the two-year period. Both tiers allow applicants to bring close relatives (spouses and children below the age of 18) to the UK with them.
The Tier 1 Investor visa is available to applicants who can provide evidence of having held at least GBP 2 million in a British bank account. This money can be invested only in businesses in the UK for a period of five years. The option to invest in government bonds was discontinued on 29 March 2019. For the initial application, the applicant is not required to show business experience or the ability to speak English.