The UK government recently announced a number of changes to the Immigration Rules for business entrepreneurs and workers. This represents the latest of a series of changes made in recent years with the ultimate aim of attracting talented and skilled individuals to the UK to work, invest, and start businesses.
In this newsletter, we’ll look at the latest changes and highlight some of the most popular UK visa routes available to support overseas professionals.
Is the Start-up visa route closing?
Yes. On April 13, 2023, the Start-up visa route closed to new applicants. Only initial applications that were backed by endorsements issued before 13 April 2023 and submitted by 12 July 2023 will be approved. On July 13, 2023, the route will be closed to all new applicants.
The closure of this route may come as a disappointment for university incubator schemes, but the Graduate visa route is still available for overseas students looking to launch a business, and the new Innovator Founder Route provides a visa without the need to have investment funding.
Has the Innovator visa changed?
Yes, the Innovator visa changed from 13 April 2023. The new visa is called the Innovator Founder visa, and it will be a more flexible and streamlined route for entrepreneurs to come to the UK to start businesses.
What visas are typically requested by overseas businesses?
Innovator Founder visa
The Innovator Founder visa enables entrepreneurs from outside the UK to set up an innovative business in the UK. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a clear business plan and have a business idea that has been approved by an approved endorsing body. English language and adequate savings requirements must also be met by the applicant.
In contrast to the previous Innovator visa the Innovator Founder visa offers the following benefits:
- No minimum investment requirement: This will make it easier for entrepreneurs to come to the UK to start their businesses.
- More flexible eligibility criteria: Making it easier for a wider range of entrepreneurs to qualify.
- Faster processing times: The new visa can be processed more quickly, which will make it easier for entrepreneurs to get started in the UK.
Skilled Worker visa
The Skilled Worker visa (which replaced the Tier 2 General visa) is for foreign nationals who wish to come to the UK to work in a sponsored job. Only UK employers with a sponsor licence are able to employ overseas staff through the Skilled Worker visa scheme. The Skilled Worker visa uses a points-based system (PBS) which awards points based on meeting certain criteria.
The Scale-up visa is a visa route that was introduced in August 2022. It is designed to attract talented individuals from outside the UK to work for fast-growing UK businesses. To qualify for a Scale-up visa, you must have a job offer from a UK-based scale-up business that meets certain criteria. You must also meet the English language requirements and have a valid passport.
The Scale-up visa is valid for up to 5 years, and you can extend it for further periods of up to 3 years. After 5 years, you may be able to apply for settlement in the UK.
What is a UK Global Business Mobility Visa?
The UK Global Business Mobility visa routes are aimed at overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence or transfer staff to the UK and came into effect in April 2022. Some of the most requested visa types are as follows:
Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Replaced ICT)
The Senior or Specialist Worker visa is intended for overseas senior managers and employees with specialised skills and experience who wish to work in the UK on a temporary basis. Applicants must be employed by an overseas company or organisation that is affiliated with their UK business sponsor (via ownership or a Joint Venture). This replaced the Intra-Company Transfer Visa (ICT).
UK Expansion Worker visa (Replaced Sole Representative)
The UK Expansion Worker visa replaced the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa and allows established and trading businesses outside the UK to send a senior manager to expand their presence in the UK. This route is designed for employees of foreign companies that do not already have a trading presence in the UK.
Secondment Worker visa
The Secondment Worker visa allows overseas employers to send workers to the UK to fulfil a high-value contract or investment with a UK-registered sponsoring business. Applicants must possess the necessary skills for the secondment and have worked for the overseas company for at least one year.
Service Supplier visa
The Service Supplier visa is intended to allow overseas workers who work for an overseas service supplier or who meet the self-employed requirements, to come to the UK for a temporary work assignment.
Graduate Trainee visa
The Graduate Trainee visa is intended for overseas workers who wish to be transferred by their employer to the United Kingdom for the purpose of completing a work placement as part of a graduate training programme. The training programme must result in a senior management or specialist position. This replaced the Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Visa.
Will a Global Business Mobility visa need the UK employer to have a sponsor licence?
Yes, for all pathways under the Global Business Mobility visa, applicants must have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), therefore, the UK business must hold a sponsor licence.
How 3CS can help
For further information on work visas, sponsor licences or any other immigration matter please contact a member of our team.