UK Home Office changes to Immigration Rules (May 2020) – Start Up, Innovator and Global Talent
The Home Office published the ‘Statement of Changes’, on 14th May 2020 introducing certain changes to the existing UK Immigration Rules pertaining to certain categories of visas/immigration applications, these impacted the following categories including Representative of an overseas business or Sole representative visa, Tier 2 intra company transfers, Start-up, Innovator and Global Talent, Tier 4 (General) students, EU Settlement Scheme and EEA Family Permit, Family category (Spouse/Civil partner).
Whilst a majority of these changes are aimed at further specifying and clarifying the underlying aspects of the Immigration Rules which were provided for within the guidance for those specific categories of visas or previously left for interpretation. The changes are to take effect from 4th June 2020.
Start-up visas and Innovator visas were launched in April 2019 replacing the Tier 1 Graduate entrepreneurs and Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa routes. The idea was to drive innovative businesses with scale and viability to be set up in UK. Whilst the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this change, the Home Office announced changes to Appendix W (W2.1) of the Immigration Rules pertaining to the extension applications of Star-up visa migrants in the UK in that the additional leave granted would be for 2 years but this would be inclusive of the time spent by the migrant on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur and/or Start-up category. In short, the total amount of time spent by the migrant on this visa category may not exceed 2 years.
In further changes to appendix W5 dealing with specific requirements for ‘Start-up’ Visa applicants include the following:
- Clarification that the entry clearance office may may request additional information or evidence from the applicant or the endorsing body to support the information in the endorsement letter, and may refuse the application if they are not satisfied the endorsement criteria has been met
- A new sub-paragraph, has been added, which specifies that:
If the application under this category has been granted then the applicant must maintain constant contact with their endorsing body as required/specified by that body or at the 6 month and 12 month marks from the date the application has been granted.
At these contact points, the applicant must either:
- show reasonable progress, as assessed by their endorsing body, against the business plan assessed in their endorsement
- show that they are pursuing a new business venture, which the endorsing body is satisfied meets the endorsement criteria
The Home Office has also sharpened the definition of ‘viability’ to mean that “The applicant’s business plan is realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources. The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.”
The parameters have been broadened to clarify that: the applicant can either be the sole founder of the business or a key member of the founding team. It also allows multiple applicants to be endorsed as long as each applicant is a founding member. It also puts the onus on the applicant to have ownership on their own business plan including generating the idea and/or making a significant contribution to those ideas) whilst also being responsible for executing the plan.”
Changes to the Innovator category include the following:
The application may be made on behalf of a sole-founder of the business which is already trading in the UK or an instrumental member of the founding team. It also puts the onus on the applicant to have ownership on their own business plan including generating the idea and/or making a significant contribution to those ideas) whilst also being responsible for executing the plan.
Notable changes to Immigration Rules pertaining to extension of stay under the Global Talent visa category include the following:
- Applicants who last held leave under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category of visas would be considered under the requirements set out for extension under the Global Talent visa route i.e. that the applicant must have earned whist on the leave granted to him and in the field for which the said leave was granted and that they continue to be endorsed under the said field.
- The reference to ‘fashion industry’ is to be replace with ‘fashion design industry’ which limits the scope of applicants in the said industry
- Applicants in the field of Arts and Culture may submit evidence of appearances in which they were not named by providing a letter from a senior individual, outlining their significant and direct contribution to the performance.
If you are considering applying for start up visa, innovator visa or global talent visa, you can contact our UK Immigration experts on Start Up, Innovator and Global Talent in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh & London, to ascertain the merits of applying for UK visa entry clearance in this category.
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