Innovator and Star-Up routes
There are two new immigration routes in place for entrepreneurs and businessman who want to establish a business in the UK. These are Innovator and Start-Up visas. They encourage innovation and potential for growth in the UK rather than the old concept of bringing business ideas. While these visas are extremely beneficial to the continuing success and growth of the UK’s economy, the entry to either scheme rests on a notoriously difficult task of receiving an endorsement from independent bodies. Nevertheless, those who wish to apply through these routes should seek legal advice beforehand, as the application fees and procedure entails a substantial amount of effort and money.
Sole Representative Overseas Business visa
Since Tier 1 Entrepreneur route has been closed, the next most popular alternative is the Sole Representative Overseas Business visa. This route is designed to enable an overseas business to send a senior representative to the UK and establish a registered body or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK. The business established in the UK must perform the same type of business activity as abroad and the individual who is sent to the UK must have sufficient authority, experience and comprehension to establish a business in the UK and not own more than a certain part of the business.
This route may lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain and family members can accompany or join the main applicant.
What are the obstacles if you want to bring your family members with you?
It is common that those who want to establish a business in the UK often want to bring their family members with them to the UK. To accomplish this, applicants need to pay an additional fee, gather additional documents and book visa application appointments. While this is all standard procedure, some applicants face refusals. This often relates to those who want to come to the UK with their children while their other parent remains abroad. The Immigration Rules impose a strict test before a child will be permitted to come to the UK. According to the rules, it is not up to the parents to decide what is best for the child concerned. Nevertheless, the legal test entails a number of criteria (such as for example evidence of a sole responsibility for the child), which, if met appropriately, should not impose significant difficulties for meeting the requirements, and applicants are encouraged to carry out thorough research before applying.
Important considerations when making business visa applications
While the above is a very brief overview of the business route options, both initial and extension requirements must be carefully considered when exploring the routes. To do so, the Immigration Rules and the guidance must be fully understood, and potential applicants must be fully satisfied that all the requirements are met. Applicants must bear in mind that the rules might entail vague guidelines which must be interpreted and applied according to the established practices.