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    The Innovator visa category is for non-EEA nationals who are experienced businesspersons seeking to establish a business in the UK. Applicants will need to have access to at least £50,000 to invest in their business (or have already invested £50,000, subject to exceptions). You will also need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is approved and supported by an endorsing body.

    Eligibility requirements for an Innovator visa

    In order to qualify for an Innovator Visa applicants will need to show that they;

    • Are at least 18 years old;
    • Have at least £50,000 available to invest in their UK business or have already invested £50,000 in their UK business (Exempted if switching from the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Start-up category to pursue the same business venture or extending as an existing Innovator to pursue the same business venture and, in both cases, you have shown significant achievements judged against your business plan);
    • If starting a new business, you must have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that has given its approval for the business idea based on innovation, viability and scalability. The endorsing body must also be satisfied that the applicant will spend his/her entire working time in the UK on promoting his/her business.
    • When applying to extend your visa for the same business, applicants must be endorsed by an approved endorsing body who must be satisfied that the applicant has shown significant achievements judged against the business plan assessed in the previous endorsement.
    • Applicants must be registered with Companies House as a Director or Member of the business, the business must be active, trading and appear sustainable for at least the following 12 months.
    • The innovator visa holder must have had an active key role in the day-to-day management and development of the business and that he/she will spend their entire working time in the UK on developing the business venture;
    • The endorsement letter was issued not more than 3 months before the date of the Innovator visa application;
    • The applicant genuinely intends to undertake, and is capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the UK stated in his/her application;
    • The applicant must be competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B2 (equivalent to IELTS 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking);
    • The applicant must have at least £945 available to support himself/herself (and £630 for each dependent) without recourse to public funds
    • Applications for Innovator Visas can be made from outside the UK, or applicants can switch into this category if they were last granted leave to remain as a Start-up, Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Tier 2 General or Tier 2 ICT Skilled Worker or Prospective Entrepreneur.
    • Applicants can be part of an innovator team; however, each applicant must show his own £50,000 investment.

    How long is the Innovator visa granted for?

    The initial Innovator visa will be valid for 3 years. Applicants can extend it for a further 3 years. There is no maximum time limit in the category.

    Is other employment permitted?

    Innovator Visa holders cannot take up any other employment other than working for the business or businesses that they have established.

    Applicants must remain in contact with their endorsing body

    • Applicants are required to stay in contact with their endorsing body at, 6, 12 and 24 month intervals after the visa is granted.  The endorsing body will need to be satisfied that the applicant is continuing to work in their business venture and have shown reasonable progress when considered against their original business plan and specifically in relation to the criteria of being innovative, scalable and viable. If the applicant fails to demonstrate this then the endorsement may be withdrawn and leave curtailed.

    Can my partner and children be included In the application?

    Partners/Spouse and any children under the age of 18 may accompany or join the applicant as his/her dependant(s).

    Eligibility requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain as an Innovator?

    • Applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) after spending 3 years in the Innovator visa category
    • In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain as an Innovator, applicants will need to show that they:
      • Have been endorsed by an approved UK endorsing body that is satisfied that the applicant has demonstrated significant achievements when judged against the business plan assessed in your previous endorsement.
      • Are registered with Companies House as a Director or Member of their business.
      • The business is active, trading and appears sustainable for at least the following 12 months.
      • The applicant has had an active key role in the day-to-day management and development of the business and he/she will spend their entire working time in the UK on promoting and developing the business ventures.

    The applicants must prove that they have satisfied at least two of the following:

    • At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering your business plan;
    • The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for resident workers, which have an average salary for at least £25,000 a year;
    • The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for resident workers with no average salary requirement;
    • The number of customers has at least doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services;
    • The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK;
    • The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £1 million in the last full year covered by its accounts;
    • The business has generated a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.

     Absences from the UK

    Applicants must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12 month period during the 3 years prior to the date of application;

    English Language

    Applicants must have sufficient knowledge of the English language and Life in the UK.

    How can Healys Help?

    The experienced Immigration team at Healys Solicitors will prepare and submit your Innovator visa application (and those of your dependants) from the UK.

    We will ensure that all supporting documents are carefully drafted to ensure compliance with UK Immigration Rules and specifically assist your bank and/or third-party funders to produce financial documents that also comply with the rules.

    We’ll advise you on the best type of application for your situation and give you the insight you need to make informed decisions along the way. We aim to not only make the process as smooth as possible but to enhance it and improve the chances of your permanent residence application being successful.

    We’re a law firm that understands its customers and treats every individual case as something new. We focus on building relationships with our clients to ensure that we can provide them with the best legal representation and advice that we possibly can. With several decades of experience across different aspects of law, including immigration, we believe that we’re in a unique position to offer our clients the best advice available on managing and processing UK visa applications.

    Call Us Today
    Call our London office on 020 7822 4000 or our Brighton office on 01273 838734. You can also contact us online.
    Call Us Today
    London: 020 7822 4000 Brighton: 01273 838734 Or you can contact us online: Contact Us
    INNOVATOR VISA capabilities
    INNOVATOR VISA experiences
    • Healys regularly assists clients in applying for and maintaining sponsor licences, providing training to staff in relation to sponsor duties and responsibilities, undertaking compliance audits of company systems and processes and assisting clients in the submission of necessary reports and updates to the Home Office. We have successfully challenged Home Office decisions to suspend sponsor licences and civil penalty fines and been able to have licences reinstated. We currently work for a specialist care home in relation to its Tier 2 licence and have successfully assisted the sponsor in urgently being allocated additional certificates of sponsorship (following an initial Home Office refusal of a request submitted by the sponsor without legal representation) to enable it to recruit specialist nurses trained in nursing those with neurological injury/damage/disease; a current UK shortage occupation.
    • Our client is a businesswoman, who wanted to enter the UK as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) in order to invest in an existing business. We assisted our client with introducing her to our contacts in order to find her the right business in which to invest in, in accordance with her qualifications/experience and advised her on the whole procedure. Once having done so, we prepared our client’s application with supporting relevant documentation in order to meet the Immigration Rules. Our client was subsequently granted Entry Clearance into the UK as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). Shortly after our client had been in the UK, she instructed us that she wished for her spouse and children to join her in the UK. We assisted our client in the preparation of her dependants’ applications, which were later granted, and our client’s family entered the UK in order to join her.
    • Our client is a successful businessman, who wanted to enter the UK as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) in order to incorporate his own business in the UK, which would procure raw hides from Europe and UK, process them in the UK and resell them to an international clientele. We assisted our client with the preparation of his application as well as preparing the applications on his dependants’ behalf in order to join him in the UK. Our client was later granted entry clearance into the UK, in order to establish his business, along with his dependents.
    • We currently provide a bespoke service to a particular investor who, following a successful switch from Tier 2 (General) to Tier 1 (Investor) status, wants follow up ad hoc advice regarding the maintenance of her Tier 1 (Investor) status and quarterly review of her managed portfolio, to give her peace of mind that her status is being looked after throughout so as to put her in the best position to successfully extend her visa on its expiry.
    • We assisted our client to prepare an EEA PR application. As a result of Brexit we have advised a number of clients wishing to apply for permanent residence. Our client is an EU national who has been exercising EU rights of free movement as a qualified person for more 5 years. We completed the EEA PR form and collected documents that supported their application. The application was granted in February 2017.
    • Our clients are Zimbabwean nationals. In 2013 they were granted 3 years extension of their Discretionary Leave to remain in the UK because at that time Zimbabwe was refusing to take back their nationals who no longer had leave to remain the UK. We advised our clients in their applications in 2013. In 2016 our clients had accumulated 6 years of Discretionary Leave and were therefore eligible to apply for permanent residence in the UK. We obtained documents from our clients to support the private and family life that they had been enjoying in the UK for the past 3 years. We completed and submitted the application. Our clients were finally granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
    • Acted for a Pakistani client and his family facing deportation. We submitted a human rights claim under Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, requesting permission to extend our client’s stay in the UK on the basis that their child had spent 7 continuous years living in the UK and, referring to Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, that their interests and wellbeing may not best be served by being removed to Pakistan. Our client was granted three years discretionary leave to remain in the UK as a family.
    • Acted for a male Pakistani national seeking asylum in order to remain in the UK, fearing persecution if he returned to Pakistan due to his being homosexual. Engaging the 1951 Refugee Convention, ratified by the UK, our client was granted refugee status at appeal due to having a well-founded fear of persecution by the country of his nationality.
    • Acted for an Egyptian client wishing to join his wife in the UK. Despite satisfying the financial and accommodation requirements imposed by Part 8 of the government’s immigration rules, our client’s application was declined due to the fact that the couple did not share a common language. We successfully appealed this decision in court, having persuaded the judge that a common language was not the sole factor in deciding whether a marriage was genuine or not.
    • Acted for a female Ukraine national who sought to remain in the UK with her husband and daughter. We advised her to issue a human rights claim under Article 8 of the European Convention, arguing that owing to her husband’s status as a political refugee, the only place where they could enjoy the right to family life without interference by a public authority was in the UK. Our client’s application for a variation of her leave to remain was successful at appeal, and she was granted three years discretionary leave to remain in the UK.
    • Acted for a Sri Lankan refugee, who had previously been placed on a witness protection programme, when his application to extend his and his family’s leave to remain in the UK was denied by the Home Office, due to the fact that Sri Lanka had since developed their own witness protection programme. At appeal, and with expert evidence, it was decided that the witness protection programme in Sri Lanka would fail to offer our client adequate protection, and his application was allowed.
    • Acted for a large corporation in the Middle East in facilitating the swift transfer of their Vice president from their head office to their London office. This involved obtaining the relevant sponsor license, completing a Tier 2 application, and liaising with both the UK Border Agency and the applicant’s home country Visa service in order to successfully expedite the process.
    • Acted for a client in making an application (FLR FP) for her minor daughter, a Philippine national, to reside permanently with her in the UK. Having entered the UK as a visitor, the Home Office’s position was initially that the application should be made from the Philippines. We argued that this would be a breach of our client’s human rights, and the Home office agreed to allow our client to make an in-country application and to grant her indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
    • Acted for a Zimbabwe national in an application to extend her discretionary leave for a further three years. This was initially refused by the Home Office on the grounds that the application was not valid without evidence of identity in the form of a passport or ID card. Her passport having expired and not being able to return to Zimbabwe due to her life being in danger there, our client had good reasons not to provide her identity document with her application. We sent a letter before action to the Home Office in line with the pre-action protocol or judicial review.
    • Acted for a Canadian client suffering from a mental illness bordering on suicidal ideation. We made an application for our client to be granted leave to remain on discretionary grounds owing to the fact that her mental condition greatly improved after visiting her family in the UK, and she feared it would deteriorate if she were to return to Canada. Though initially refused by the Home Office, the application was successful at appeal.
    • Acted for a French national exercising treaty rights in the UK as a qualified person. After the Brexit referendum, and prior to the UK leaving the EU in March 2019, our client wished to secure her immigration status in the UK. Despite having automatically acquired permanent residence having lived in the UK legally for 5 years or more, we prepared an EEA PR application which was granted in December 2017.
    • Acted for a Pakistani national who, having been human trafficked into the UK in 1998, had resided in the UK for 20 years. Our client’s application for indefinite leave to remain was declined and he was granted the right to an in-country appeal. The appeal was put on hold while the police and the Home Office investigated the human trafficking element. After 18 months, and despite the police and Home Office investigations not having been concluded, the appeal proceeded and our client was granted discretionary leave to remain. We are now preparing to challenge the grant of discretionary leave, as opposed to indefinite leave to remain, by way of judicial review.
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