The new Start-up visa will replace Graduate Entrepreneur exclusively for UK graduates from 5 July 2019. The Start-up category is an expanded version of Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category. Applicants do not need to meet the requirement of having a graduate degree and to secure initial funding. Successful applicants will be granted 2 years’ leave (previously one year) and will be able to progress into the Innovator category to continue developing their businesses in the UK after that time. The key new requirement is that the initial applications must be endorsed by a relevant body (not yet defined in the statement of changes) to confirm that the business ideas are innovative, viable and scalable.
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applicants apply on the basis of endorsement letters from Higher Education Institutions (HEI) or the Department for International Trade (DIT) may use this letters until 5 July 2019 and these may continue to be issued until 05 April 2019. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrants will be able to switch into the new Start-up route if they have not yet had their maximum two grants of leave under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route. If their Start-up endorsement is from the same endorsing body (HEI or DIT) as in their previous Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) application, their business ideas will not need to meet the new Start-up criteria in relation to innovation and scalability.