Major Changes to the Tier 1 Route

12 March 2019
Naila Khan


Accord­ing to the Inde­pen­dent, the num­ber of super rich apply­ing for Tier 1 (Entre­pre­neur) visas rose by 46% in 2017. How­ever, major changes have been announced this month to crack down on what the Home Office describe as “low qual­ity” entre­pre­neurs who add very lit­tle to the econ­omy. It is some­thing that was expected given the media cov­er­age sur­round­ing the HMRC tax alter­ation alle­ga­tions which many migrants had the bad expe­ri­ence of under­go­ing in the last few years.

The Gov­ern­ment has now announced two new visa routes for entrepreneurs:

The start-up visa – this cat­e­gory is for those seek­ing to estab­lish a busi­ness in the UK for the first time. Appli­cants will have an “inno­v­a­tive, viable and scal­able” busi­ness idea which is sup­ported by an endors­ing body. The start-up visa is an expanded ver­sion of the Tier 1 grad­u­ate entre­pre­neur visa, which allowed uni­ver­si­ties to endorse inter­na­tional students.

The inno­va­tor visa — this cat­e­gory is for more expe­ri­enced busi­ness peo­ple seek­ing to estab­lish a busi­ness in the UK. Appli­cants will have an inno­v­a­tive, viable and scal­able busi­ness idea which is sup­ported by an endors­ing body. With some excep­tions, appli­cants will also have fund­ing to invest in their business.

The key require­ment under both these cat­e­gories is that indi­vid­u­als will need to obtain an endorse­ment from a rel­e­vant body. These bod­ies will include:

  1. UK higher edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions which meet spe­cific require­ments, and
  2. organ­i­sa­tions with a proven track record of sup­port­ing UK entre­pre­neurs. Such bod­ies will need to be approved by the Home Office.

The changes appear to be ill planned given that there is cur­rently no real infor­ma­tion as to who these award­ing bod­ies are. One such poten­tial endors­ing body is Tech Nation announced on their website:

“In Sep­tem­ber 2019, Tech Nation will begin pro­cess­ing endorse­ment appli­ca­tions on behalf of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy entre­pre­neurs for both of these new routes, build­ing upon our suc­cess­ful oper­a­tion of the Tier 1 Excep­tional Tal­ent visa and extend­ing our sup­port for inter­na­tional entre­pre­neurs wish­ing to estab­lish their tech busi­ness in the UK.”

I sin­cerely hope the Gov­ern­ment has plans for endors­ing bod­ies to spon­sor those migrants hop­ing to apply in the com­ing months prior to Sep­tem­ber 2019!

How can Buck­ing­ham Legal Asso­ciates help?

As you can see things are about to get even more com­pli­cated. The Government’s empha­sis is on “good qual­ity” entre­pre­neurs and there­fore there is a demand for high stan­dards in the arena. From expe­ri­ence, I am aware that ill-prepared appli­ca­tions can be costly not only in respect of time but also with regard to poten­tial future appli­ca­tions which no doubt are put at risk.

At Buck­ing­ham Legal Asso­ciates we are able to advise you about each step of the appli­ca­tion process. We can guide you in ensur­ing that your appli­ca­tion is suc­cess­ful. We will ini­tially con­duct a full assess­ment of your cir­cum­stances to ensure that there are no gaps. If you meet the require­ments pro­vi­sion­ally, we can facil­i­tate your appli­ca­tion and help you nav­i­gate through the rules.

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For the best expert legal advice and out­come on your immi­gra­tion appli­ca­tion con­tact Buck­ing­ham Legal Asso­ciates on 0203 006 2742 or con­tact us online at


Naila Khan is an expe­ri­enced Senior Immi­gra­tion Advo­cate. She reg­u­larly advises clients on com­plex immi­gra­tion issues.

If you would like immi­gra­tion advice please con­tact us!

Posted in Immigration Updates

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