Dec 2018 – Changes to the Tier 1 Visa Route


Changes to the Tier 1 Visa
Changes to the Tier 1 Visa

Here’s what you need to know about the proposed changes to the Tier 1 Visa route:

In light of the recent announcement to introduce changes to the Tier 1 Visa route, NA Law Solicitors provide an overview of the proposed changes below.

In recent events and announcements, it seems that the Tier 1 system will experience some major redesigns “to do more to attract businesses to the UK” as stated by Home Secretary Sajid Javid. He reiterated the importance of maintaining the UK’s popularity as a leading destination for tech and innovation by adjusting the migration system to accommodate the wide variety of overseas entrepreneurs. This includes the Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and the Tier 1 (Investor) visas.

Changes to The Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) visa  

The Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) visa will be ceased and replaced with a Start-up visa route announced in June 2018 following London Tech Week. It aims to widen the scope of applicants covered by opening it up to talented entrepreneurs that are not graduates. As the name indicates, the current visa is only open to those with a degree.

However, prospective applicants under the new Start-up visa will need an endorsement from either a university or an approved business sponsor in order to verify their credibility and genuineness as an entrepreneur.

When will this new visa replace the existing route?

The Start-up visa will come into effect in spring 2019, before which time we will likely have more information on its requirements and changes from the current visa.

Changes to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa 

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa will be ceased and replaced with the Innovator visa – announced by the Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes – has been claimed to replace the current Entrepreneur route by catering for “more experienced business people”. Similar to the Start-up visa, prospective applications under the Innovator visa will need to be endorsed by a business sponsor who can assess the applicant’s business proposal under innovation, viability and scalability.

This new method of assessing applicant’s credibility is arguably long-awaited; the Home Office have often been criticised for assessing entrepreneurs’ business credibility without holding professional knowledge of entrepreneurship, the business or how it operates. The idea of an independent professional or group of professionals using their business expertise to scrutinise an applicant’s proposal in a fair manner is somewhat progressive; how far the Home Office is influenced by the business experts is another matter and will most likely be addressed closer to the time of the new visa.

Another development of the Innovator visa, though it has not been confirmed, is likely to be the increase of the investment criteria. As it stands, the current Entrepreneur visa requires applicants to hold a minimum of £200,000 to invest into UK businesses. This is proposed to rise to £400,000 under the Innovator visa – as mentioned above, this is not a confirmed figure but has merely been suggested.

Changes to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa  

On 6th December 2018 it was widely reported that the Investor visa will be suspended, with the suspension beginning at midnight the following day. The immediacy of the situation raised alarm bells for immigration lawyers and prospective Investor visa candidates alike; however, ILPA’s announcement that the suspension was now being put on hold softened the urgency of the situation. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid apologised for the drastic measures to suspend the visa and stated that it would remain operational for the time being.

Although no official confirmation has been made, the visa route is likely to exist until spring 2019; however, there is little information as to what is due to replace the current visa.

To summarise, it’s going to be a hectic start in 2019 for overseas investors and entrepreneurs – but with appropriate legal advice from NA Law you will be sure to achieve your entrepreneurial goals under the current, familiar system.
Contact us today for a free case assessment if you wish to come to the UK to invest or to start a business. Alternatively, for more information on the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route, watch the videos below:


The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa requirements:


The Tier 1 genuine entrepreneur test:


The Tier 1 genuine entrepreneur Home Office interview:

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