The Home Office announced on 7 March 2019 by statement of changes (HC1919) regarding the closure of Tier 1 Entrepreneur route and introducing ‘innovator’ and ‘start-up’ visa categories. Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications can continue to be made until 29 March 2019.
The Innovator visa category is intended for more experienced business people and will require an endorsement in addition to the £50,000 to invest in their business from any legitimate source (reduced from £200,000 for most applicants in the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur category). There will not be any funding requirement for those switching from the Start-up category (replacing graduate entrepreneur) who have made significant achievements against their business plans. The Innovator category may lead to a settlement in the UK. Innovators will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 3 years continuous residence in the UK as innovators, provided they satisfy at least two of a list of criteria relating to how much money they invested, how much the business grew and/or how many jobs they created.
There is not yet a set list of organisations that can endorse someone for an innovator visa, but we understand that endorsing bodies like Tech Nation will be participating in this scheme. Extension applications for Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants will remain open until 5 April 2023, and settlement applications until 5 April 2025.