Home Secretary Has Announced A New Start Up Visa For The UK
In Spring 2019, the UK Immigration Authorities will start staking applications for a new “start-up visa” to commence business in the United Kingdom. This was announced by the Home Secretary as part of Tech Week on 13th June 2018.
The visa is described in a UK government press release and some immediate points become clear:
• The aim will be to allow a greater number of talented entrepreneurs to come to the UK, it seems this will be achieved through replacing the graduate entrepreneur visa route and replacing it with a wider ranging “start-up visa”.
• The suggestion that the visa will be a faster route can almost certainly be ignored. The processing times for visas outside of the UK are largely controlled by the process that commercial operators around the world adopt. For example, in New York applications are usually turned around within 5 days with the premium service, compared to much slower in places such as India.
How will the replacement of the graduate entrepreneur mean a wider ranging scope of clients starting businesses in the UK?
It seems clear that the new start-up visa will allow new migrants to be endorsed by business sponsors rather than merely universities. This means more than recent graduates could apply for endorsement, those looking for incubation or to join an accelerator as well as funding could also apply for endorsement at the same time as applying for funding. Note the Immigration Authorities have specifically mentioned accelerators in their relevant press releases on the new business start up visa.
It should be noted that applicants will need to have obtained an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor, as a mandatory requirement prior to the application for the visa.
What don’t we know at the moment about the new business visa for start-ups?
We don’t currently know which business organisations are to be listed as official endorsers, and whether any that are based outside the United Kingdom will be included.
We also are awaiting information on whether the business needs to have any level of specific start up or seed funding, although seems unlikely.
We are also finally awaiting information on whether the criteria for endorsers for Universities will change and what the new criteria for business endorsers will be.
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What other options are there for startup’s in the UK already?
If a business wants to commence prior to Spring 2019 there are a number of options:
a. The main Entrepreneur visa allows new business to be started and existing business to be joined in practically any sector, so long as that business generates at least two new UK based employees and leads to an investment of at least 200,000 GBP into that business.
b. The Graduate Entrepreneur visa allows for new graduates to commence business in the United Kingdom so long as they are endorsed by their University.
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