How well does the UK Innovator Visa work?
The United Kingdom welcomes innovative foreign entrepreneurs and investors to invest in its economy in return for settlement in the UK. The UK Innovator visa replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa to encourage experienced entrepreneurs seeking to bring unique business ideas to the UK.
An applicant must have at least £50,000 as investment funds to be eligible. Apart from this, they must:
- Be at least 18 years of age,
- Meet the English language requirement
- Applicants must meet the maintenance requirement of £945 and hold the funds for 90 consecutive days.
The business idea must also fulfill the following criteria:
- Innovative- the business idea must be new and unique for the market
- Viability- the applicant must prove that their business idea is practical and credible.
- Scalable- Business immigrants must demonstrate that their business idea will benefit the UK economy and the business will help generate employment opportunities for the British people.
If more than one person applies for the program, they cannot share the capital investment of £50,000. Each applicant must show their funds or funds already been invested in the business.
How many were UK Innovator Visas issued in 2020-2021?
In the first year of the Innovator visa, from March 2019 to March 2020, the government of the UK issued 159 permits. Up to February 2021, the government granted 1669 Tier 1 “High Value” visas, including Entrepreneur. The sudden fall was mainly because of the Covid-19 outbreak and changes to the immigration system from 1st January 2021 onwards.
However, in 2021 as the restrictions lifted and the economy started to bounce back, the UK government issued innovator visas to 100 applicants and 165 dependents. The number represents the highest record ever since the pandemic hit the country.
About 33% of the visas were granted to Chinese, with Russians being the second-biggest beneficiaries standing at 18%, followed by Americans (6%), Hong Kong (5%), and Tier 1 entrepreneur visas the UK from India had only 2.5% applicants.
UK Innovator visa- what is the success rate?
Talking about the success rate of the UK innovator visa, it’s 85%, whereas the refusal rate is 15%. The UK immigration authorities received around 502 innovator visa applications between 2019 and 2021. Out of 502, 429 visa applications were successful. The candidates also withdrew some applications.
It’s worth noting that these refusals were after the business plan and the designated endorsing body had endorsed the applicant. It clearly shows that the endorsement does not come with any success guarantee. You can be supported and still be rejected based on some reasons, such as because of
- Wrong business plan writing
- Whether they apply jointly or if there is an issue with one person, it could impact the other applicant.
- Poor business concept or the idea isn’t innovative enough for the UK economy
- Issues with the endorsing body.
How many years is the Innovator visa granted?
The Innovator visa is issued for three years, which can be extended for two years. Following this, Applicants can consider applying for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) and, ultimately, British citizenship.
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