Update: the Home Office has updated its position and you can find updated information here.
The UK Government has confirmed that it will introduce a new ‘Innovator visa’ in 2019, set to replace the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route.
The Government is also planning a wider shake-up of the Tier 1 route in general. The route is currently aimed at entrepreneurs, investors and those with exceptional talent.
In a Statement to the House of Commons on 6 December 2018, the Immigration Minister said:
The Government is clear that entrepreneurs play a key role in creating jobs and driving economic growth, which is vital to the prosperity of the UK. In June of this year, we announced a new Start-up visa route. This will build upon the successes of the current Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route, expanding it to ensure that the UK can benefit from a wider pool of overseas talent looking to establish new businesses in the UK. Applicants will be endorsed by either a business or higher education institution sponsor.’
‘We are announcing that we will build on this offer further by introducing a new Innovator route, for more experienced business people. This will replace the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route and have a similar emphasis on endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability. Alongside this, we will reform our Tier 1 (Investor) route.
These reforms will be introduced in the spring and will ensure the UK remains a world-leading destination for investment and innovation. We will shortly be publishing a Statement of Intent setting out the details of how the reformed routes will work and I will place a copy in the House Library.
We are also introducing wider changes through these Immigration Rules which demonstrate our commitment to supporting talented leaders in their fields, and promising future leaders, coming to the UK under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. The changes will expand this route to provide for a route of entry for leading architects endorsed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, under the remit of Arts Council England (ACE). This change builds upon other reforms to the route earlier this year, including doubling the number of places available, providing for faster settlement to existing leaders in their fields endorsed under this route, and expanding the route to leading fashion designers, also endorsed under the remit of ACE. We will continue to work closely with our partners in this route to attract more leading international talent to the UK.’
CAROLINE NOKES (THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR IMMIGRATION)
We will be monitoring developments closely and will provide updates as soon as further announcements and formal changes to the Immigration Rules are made.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about UK immigration law matters, please contact us.