UK’s new Entrepreneur visa explained

For talented entrepreneurs looking to make an international move to the UK to start up a new business, things are about to get easier. The government has recently announced a new UK Start Up Visa, due to come into force in Spring 2019, which relaxes the eligibility criteria for individuals who wish to start enterprises in the country.
The new visa has been widely welcomed by industry and business leaders in the UK, particularly within the technology field. The new visa was announced during London Tech Week, and aims to stimulate growth and innovation in the UK.

Why it’s needed

The number of new business being launched in the UK is dropping industry-wide, particularly those started by non-European individuals. The difficult and time-consuming visa process under current guidelines could be one factor in this slowdown. However, the technology industry is seeing a boom in UK tech startups, as reported by Forbes, a trend that will hopefully continue with the introduction of the new visa regulations.
The visa will widen the applicant pool of entrepreneurs wanting to relocate to the UK and found a new business. Entrepreneurial endeavours are key for creating new jobs and driving economic growth. With Brexit and its as-yet-unknown implications for European business just around the corner, this visa is a positive step towards keeping the UK an attractive destination for global talent.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, says: “The UK can be proud that we are a leading nation when it comes to tech and innovation, but we want to do more to attract businesses to the UK and our migration system plays a key part in that.
That’s why I am pleased to announce a new visa for people wanting to start a business in the UK. This will help to ensure we continue to attract the best global talent and maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurs.
This initiative builds on other recent reforms to the visa system – including doubling the number of visas available on the Exceptional Talent route to 2,000 per year – and shows the government’s commitment to making the UK a dynamic, open, globally-trading nation.”

How the new visa differs

At present, non-European entrepreneurs can apply to start a business in the UK under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, or the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. The latter is for those who have an accredited university degree, while the former requires a set level of investment funds.
Individual applications are currently assessed by Home Office caseworkers to determine the viability of the applicant’s business plan. The assessment is done using a Genuine Entrepreneur Test to make a decision as to whether the proposed business is likely to be successful. Almost half of the applications are refused under the current criteria.
The new visa has been introduced following a report by the Migration Advisory Committee in 2015, which called for a reform of the current application procedure for entrepreneurs.
Applicants for the new Start Up Visa will need to be endorsed by an approved body before they apply to the Home Office. This is not just limited to universities, but also sponsors and accelerators. This new approach means business ventures are being considered by industry figures and experienced bodies, rather than public servants. The Home Office can then assess the applications with detailed analysis on the business proposal, in order to make an informed decision. There may be restrictions levied on the new visa, which will be revealed in due course.
If you’re thinking of making an international move to the UK, get in touch with Cadogan Tate to find out how we can help with your relocation.