In its latest Statement of changes, published on 7 March 2019, the UK Government has made it very clear that it is moving away from the Points-Based Immigration system (PBS).

Both the Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route are falling away shortly. These routes will be replaced with an Innovator and Start-up Visa routes. Both the new routes fall outside the PBS and do not have a point-scoring system.

Breytenbachs welcome the announcements on the newly formed immigration routes, and believe it will open up more opportunities for those looking to live and work in the UK.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) closing
The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) immigration route will close for all new applicants on 6 July 2019. The last day a person can thus apply under this route is 5 July 2019.

Persons already in the UK under this route, do not need to worry, as there are transitional arrangements in place to switch to the new routes.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) closing
The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route will close on 29 March 2019.

Visa holders already in the UK in this immigration route will be able to apply for extensions under the existing rules until 5 April 2023. They will also be able to apply for settlement until 5 April 2025.

Persons currently on this route do not need to be concerned at all, as they will not be affected by the closure of this immigration route. There will be sufficient time to extend, as well as to eventually apply for settlement.

Stricter rules for Tier 1 (Investor)
It seems that there was some abuse of Tier 1 (Investor) route from investors investing in the UK from illegitimate sources. The UK Governments has subsequently tightened the rules of this immigration route to ensure that all monies coming to the UK are from legitimate sources.

Beginning 29 March 2019, all applicants have to hold the required investments funds to qualify for this visa for two years. Previously, it was only 90 days. UK banks will also be required to do strict due diligence checks, and look into the source of incomes, before opening a UK investment account for an applicant.

Current Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders will be able to apply for extensions until 5 April 2023, and 5 April 2025 for settlement.

New Start-up Visa
The UK Government has announced a new visa route outside the PBS, that will replace the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route. The Start-up visa route will be an expanded version of Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).

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Persons starting a new business in the UK can apply. They will have to have a business plan that is innovative, scalable and viable. An endorsing body needs to support the business idea.

There is no requirement for initial funding, and an applicant need not be a graduate.

Leave will be granted for two years in this category. The visa does not lead to a settlement in the UK. It will, however, be possible for visa holders to progress to the Innovator visa, that does lead to the settlement.

Dependants can accompany the main visa holder to the UK.

New Innovator Visa replacing Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
The Innovator Visa route is suitable for more experienced business persons.

Trusted organizations need to endorse applicants. Applicants will also need to invest £50,000 in their business from a legitimate source.

Applicants have to provide a business plan that is innovative, scalable and viable and supported by an endorsing body.

If a person switches to the Innovator visa category from the Start-up category, they will not need to prove the funding requirement, provided they have made significant achievements in their business plans.

The English language requirement is at a higher level than for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), at Level B2.

The visa leads to settlement, and dependants can accompany the main visa holder to the UK.

Applicants can apply for Indefinite Leave after only three years’ of continuous residence, provided certain monetary, business growth and job creation criteria have been met.

Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants welcome most of the changes and believe the new immigration routes will open up more opportunities for persons looking to live and work in the UK.


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