The Home Office have revealed plans to introduce a new “start-up visa”.  This visa will be available to individuals who want to set up in business in the UK irrespective of whether they have a University degree.  The new visa is said to replace the existing Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa route which was aimed only for graduates and could mean that non-EEA entrepreneurs find it easier to come to the UK in order to set up in business.

Currently, any non-EEA national wishing to set up in business in the UK is required to apply under one of the existing routes and each route has its own eligibility criteria.  One of the main business routes is the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa but this requires an applicant showing that they have access to the sum of £200,000.00 to invest in a new or existing business in the UK along with meeting the “genuine entrepreneur” test.  The refusal rate for this type of visa is quite high and nearly one in every two applications are refused.  Consequently, many entrepreneurs who could make a significant contribution to the UK economy are prevented from entering the country with this type of visa having failed to meet, in the Home Office’s eyes, the eligibility criteria.

As with the current Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, the start-up visa will require endorsement but the group of entities which can endorse an applicant will be expanded from approved higher education institutions to approved business sponsors including accelerators.

It is considered that one of the major benefits of the new visa is that decision making for the business viability requirement will be made by experienced business professionals such as accelerators rather than Home Office Caseworkers.  The new visa route is set to launch in Spring 2019.

For advice on this or any other immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact Sohan Sidhu by email at or by telephone on 01284 763333.

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