UK Innovator Visa Accountancy
The old vs new rules
Why has it changed?
If the entrepreneur visa process was already complex, the government seem to enjoy adding new hurdles for businesspeople to jump through. Although, it understandable considering the recent scandal with the Russian millionaires, who abused this scheme in 2018. As noted, the innovator visa has now replaced the entrepreneur visa.
This visa option has been established to facilitate more experienced entrepreneurs to establish ventures in the UK market. Unlike, the UK startup Visa, applicants are permitted to have existing ventures, or have previously owned a business. Although the requirements are far stricter, they seem to have made the initial investment more affordable.
Originally, in the entrepreneur visa, applicants were expected to have £200,000 available in investments. They could either have £50,000 (provided by an authorised body), but were still required to provide the £150,000 themselves. Although this is still necessary for new applicants, if you’re switching visa status from the startup, you only need £50,000 (yes, only) to support your application.
Unlike route one, applicants are required to put an initial investment into their venture. The minimum amount is £50,000 (which has decreased slightly)
If successful, the applicant will be granted leave (for two years)
If leave is granted, your family members can join you in the UK (spouse/partner and/or children under 18).
It is statutory for applicants to dedicate their entire time developing their venture.
Unlike the UK Startup, you are not permitted to take any other employment. This rule includes anything that is deemed as employment.
Once the three-year leave has ended, the applicants can request to extend their stay for a further three years.
If you extend, the stages of the initial application will have to be repeated, such as initial application, extension and settlement. Note, that you still need to be endorsed by an authorised body.
As an applicant taking the Tier 1 Innovator route, will need to prove that you have: Innovation, Viability and Scalability.
This section will briefly assess the application process for a UK Innovator visa. You can submit your initial application online through the Gov.uk website. According to the Gov.uk, you will need:
- to have a photograph and supply your fingerprints at the Visa Application Centre to support your application
After this appointment, you will be provided with a ten-day biometric resident permit.
The application process is slightly different if you’re transferring from the old graduate visa permit, or starting a new application. However, if you’re unsure about the immigration rules and restrictions, our knowledgeable team can guide you through the process.
Arguably, the most difficult hurdle that you will need to jump over is the “genuine” entrepreneur test. This test is another change, and it is now a mandatory requirement of the credibility assessments. Besides, the fact it is subjective, you also need to provide a substantial amount of supporting evidence.
Now, if you’re unsure if your evidence is complete, you have a viable business plan, and you meet the requirement below, don’t worry. Since we have been assisting non-EEA businesspeople throughout the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa application. Additionally, we have partnerships with knowledgeable solicitors who are more than capable of assisting you. Below, are just some of the ways that we can help:
- Provide reconciliations with investment and payroll they will need to show
- Prepare and file the company accounts with Companies House and HMRC – link to this page
- Fixed monthly packages
- Business Plans
- Work in partnership with competent, knowledgeable solicitors that understand new changes in Immigration rules
So, how do you pass the “genuine entrepreneur” test?
Well, besides the supporting evidence (mentioned above), you will need to satisfy the decision maker on the following:
- Here’s that word again; you have genuine intentions and capabilities to undertake all aspects of running a business in the UK. You’re “genuineness” will have to reflect and align with the information provided in your application.
- You have no intention of breaching the working conditions, as stated in your visa.
- The money you have declared here is again, is genuinely available. You also have to ensure that you intend to use the funds as declared in your application.
Will I be tested in person?
Let’s call it an interview, to make it seem less daunting. Interviewing in person is entirely down to your decision maker. You will be notified regarding the location, date and time and where you interview fits during the application process.
Failure to attend?
If you cannot attend, it always recommended that you give prior notice (when applicable), as the decision maker might continue the assessment based on the evidence you have submitted. This flexibility is one of the more positive changes, as it means that you will not hinder or slow your Tier 1 Innovator visa application.
After you’ve been tested on your genuineness, the following factors will also be considered:
- Your evidence (as noted above)
- Your education, immigration and work history
- Existing declarations about your previous employment and/or activity in the UK
- The standard “any other relevant information.”