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LS Legal News Bulletin

New Innovator Founder route: A welcome change to transform the UK business landscape

New Innovator Founder route: A welcome change to transform the UK business landscape

Friday 10th March 2023

We are thrilled to announce the introduction of the Innovator Founder route, which replaces the previous Innovator and Start-up routes. This new route is aimed at individuals with a genuine proposal for an innovative business and the funds to deliver it.

This new route has been introduced in the latest statement of changes to the Immigration Rules HC1160, published on 9 March 2023.

The original Innovator route was launched in March 2019 and aimed at individuals who could contribute significant funds to establish a business in the UK. However, the Innovator route was deemed unfit for purpose due to its stringent criteria, and the latest quarterly statistics confirmed its shortcomings, with only 299 grants in 2022. Similarly, only 377 grants of Start-up visas were issued to those looking to set up businesses in the UK for the first time.

The new Innovator Founder route replaces the Innovator and Start-up routes. Its criteria are more flexible, aiming at individuals with genuine innovative business proposals and sufficient funds to establish businesses in the UK.

The Explanatory Memorandum to the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules presented to Parliament on 9 March 2023 (HC 1160) confirms that the changes introduced under the Innovator Founder route were first announced in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's document "UK Innovation Strategy: leading the future by creating it" on 22 July 2021.

Our Consultant Solicitor, Jasmin Bugg, has expressed her enthusiasm for the new Innovator Founder route, stating that "it is so welcomed!"

The Innovator Founder route is a step towards the UK government's goal of attracting more innovative entrepreneurs to the country. By making the criteria more flexible and removing the previously required £50,000 minimum funds requirement, the government hopes to encourage a wider pool of entrepreneurs to establish and grow innovative businesses in the UK.

This visa policy change recognises that innovative entrepreneurs bring new ideas and opportunities to the UK's business landscape. By attracting more of them to the country, the UK can benefit from their creativity, drive, and expertise, which can help to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

Furthermore, removing the £50,000 minimum funds requirement is a significant step towards making the UK more accessible to entrepreneurs who may not have previously had access to this funding level. This change allows a broader range of entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses in the UK, regardless of their financial status.

The new route also allows individuals to engage in employment outside their business, provided the secondary job is in a skilled work of at least RQF Level 3 (high school leaver and above). This change offers entrepreneurs greater flexibility in managing their businesses and personal lives.

Another critical aspect of the Innovator Founder route is the extension applications, which will be possible under the Innovator Founder - Same Business criteria. This means entrepreneurs previously granted permission under the Innovator Founder or Start-Up routes can apply for an extension, provided they meet the requirements.

Under the Innovator Founder route, the settlement will be available after spending three years continuously resident in the UK. This means that entrepreneurs who meet the criteria and are granted permission to stay under this route will have the opportunity to establish a long-term presence in the UK.

However, it is essential to note that the new Innovator Founder route will come into effect on 13 April 2023, and there will be changes to the visa requirements for new applicants. To ensure that clients are fully informed and prepared, we will provide a more detailed breakdown of the visa criteria for new applicants in a separate article before the changes come into place in April.

Potential applicants need to stay updated on the changes to immigration policies and requirements to ensure that they are well informed and prepared to meet the criteria. By providing detailed information and guidance, our team is dedicated to helping clients navigate the immigration process and achieve their goals.

We are confident that introducing the Innovator Founder route will attract more innovative entrepreneurs to the UK, bringing new ideas and opportunities to the country's business landscape.

We are excited to welcome new clients who will benefit from these changes, and we look forward to supporting them as they establish and grow their businesses in the UK. Our team of immigration experts is dedicated to providing guidance and support throughout the immigration process, from initial visa applications to settlement and beyond. With our in-depth knowledge and experience, we are confident in our ability to help clients achieve their immigration goals and establish a successful presence in the UK.

Attracting more innovative entrepreneurs to the UK is beneficial for individual businesses and the country's economy as a whole. By encouraging the establishment and growth of innovative businesses, the UK can increase its competitiveness in the global marketplace and promote economic growth and development. We are excited to be a part of this process and to help our clients succeed in the UK's dynamic and thriving business environment.

If you are an entrepreneur looking to establish your business in the UK, it is essential to keep the upcoming deadline of 13 April 2023 in mind. After this date, the Start-up route will no longer be open to new applicants, except for those who are supported by endorsements that were issued before this date. However, the newly introduced Innovator Founder route presents an attractive alternative for individuals seeking to establish an innovative business in the UK.

At our firm, we are eagerly awaiting more details on this new visa and will provide a detailed breakdown of the visa requirements for new applicants in a separate post. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your immigration plans, as the Innovator Founder route may suit your needs. By eliminating the previously required £50,000 minimum funds requirement, this route provides opportunities for entrepreneurs from all financial backgrounds to establish and grow their businesses in the UK.

If you are interested in this new visa category, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your immigration plans, keeping in mind the date of 13 April 2023. We are delighted with this news and are excited to support our clients in their journey to establish and grow innovative businesses in the UK.