The abrupt withdrawal of the Tier 1 investor visa by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel last Thursday, has come as a shock to both potential applicants and professional advisors. The Tier 1 investor visa was under review but completely shutting down the visa two working days ago with immediate effect means that high net worth individuals (HNWI) wishing to settle in the UK will have to seek alternative options. Fortunately, there is another choice available that may be relevant in some cases.
The Innovator Visa
In March 2019 the Innovator visa was launched effectively replacing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Tier. It is aimed at experienced business people bringing new ideas and business concepts to the UK. The innovator visa grants successful applicants, together with their family members, a three-year visa, that is renewable, on expiry, for a further three years; thereafter it will be possible to apply to settle permanently in the UK. Prior to making an application, the applicant must submit their business proposal to one of the 25 endorsing bodies on the Government list of approved endorsing bodies.
Further requirements are:
- Investment funds of at least £50,000
- Sufficient income to ensure the applicant can maintain both themselves and their dependents, at least £945 for themselves and £630 for dependants for a period of 90 days as well as paying the immigration health surcharge.
- Applicants must be over 18 years and not have a criminal record and have passed an English language test at level B2.
- Applicants are expected to devote their entire working time to the business.
It is possible in the future that the Home Office may consider reinstating the Tier I investor visa or something very similar with a greater degree of regulation.
In the meantime, there are three new visas scheduled to be introduced in April 2022. The new visa categories are intended to bring high-level talent to the UK and assist businesses to acquire the skill and talent they require from overseas to enable business expansion via the following three new routes:
- Scale-Up visa
- High Potential Individual visa
- Global Business Mobility visa
This visa is open to rapidly growing businesses seeking exceptional talent and related to outstanding elite individuals who have acquired an offer of a job in an expanding scale-up business with a minimum salary of £33,000. The visa can be obtained through a fast-track points based process providing the business can demonstrate, over a three year period, a yearly growth rate in excess of 20 per cent and that it employed a minimum of ten employees at the beginning of the three year period. Applicants will have the opportunity eventually to apply for settlement in the UK assuming that the other eligibility requirements are met, such as an English language capacity at level B2, no criminal record and adequate health care provision. This category of visa does not require employers to obtain a sponsor license.
High Potential Individual Visa
This visa offers an opportunity to top-level academically elite graduates to forge a career in the UK bringing with it the opportunity to eventually settle in the UK. As with all other applicants the basic entry requirements will be expected, however, a job offer is not one of the requirements. Successful applicants will be expected to use their talents to make positive contributions to British commerce.
Global Business Mobility Visa
This visa has the potential to be of greatest benefit to cross-border businesses as it facilitates the ability for key employees in overseas businesses to relocate the UK. It is anticipated that the Intra Company Transfer visa (ICT) and the Sole Representative visa will amalgamate with the new Global Business Mobility visa in due course.
The visa will be available to foreign businesses with or without a presence in the UK. The visa enables a business with a UK subsidiary or branch to sponsor their own senior executives deemed to be required to develop the business in the UK, graduate trainees and employees with specialist skills that are perceived to be of benefit in the UK division of the business.
Those businesses without a UK presence will also be able to sponsor employees with specialist skills or senior employees that have been designated to assist with expanding the business in the UK, as well as employees that have been endorsed by the business to work in the UK and service suppliers who form part of a trade agreement.
Gonzalo Butori, a partner based between London and Barcelona, commented "the Global Mobility Visa provides additional advantages over the ICT and Sole representative visa in that businesses will be able to sponsor more than just one employee, enabling them to utilise the full weight of the expertise within the business to drive up the UK entity or proposed UK entity" he continued "by bringing in the very best of the talent pool available, this will considerably improve the likelihood of expansion and the success of the business, which, in turn, will be of huge benefit to the UK. The new visas should be regarded as bringing new advantages, it is only if businesses are able to access the very best of the expertise available that will they be able to fulfill their commercial promise"
Giambrone & Partners experienced immigration team will facilitate the smooth transfer of employees from their home country to the UK ensuring that there are no errors that will cause an application to stall. Our expert corporate and commercial lawyers will work in harmony with the existing overseas businesses and with those planning a venture in the UK advising, assisting and protecting businesses across all their projects, proposals and propositions.
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