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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Dias

Innovate and Immigrate: How the Innovator Visa Can Help You Start a Business in the UK


The UK Innovator visa is a type of UK visa for individuals with a business idea that they want to establish in the UK. This visa is designed for experienced business people who have a credible and innovative business idea and can demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience to start and run a business in the UK. To be eligible for the Innovator visa, individuals must pass an assessment by an endorsing body, which assesses the viability and originality of their business idea. The visa is valid for up to three years and can lead to settlement in the UK.


The detailed criteria for the UK Innovator visa include:

  1. Endorsement: Individuals must obtain endorsement from an approved endorsing body, which must assess the viability and originality of their business idea.

  2. Business idea: The business idea must be innovative, viable and scalable, and must have the potential to create jobs and bring economic benefits to the UK.

  3. Experience: Individuals must have significant experience in setting up, managing and running a business, or they must have significant experience in the field in which they want to start a business.

  4. Funds: Individuals must have access to sufficient funds to establish and run their business in the UK without relying on public funds.

  5. English language: Individuals must meet the English language requirement, which is to score at least CEFR level B2 in an approved English language test.

  6. Maintenance funds: Individuals must have enough funds to support themselves and their dependants without relying on public funds.

  7. Genuine innovator test: assesses the individual's credibility as an innovator and their intentions for starting an innovative business in the UK. This test may evaluate factors such as the originality and viability of the business idea, the individual's experience and skills in starting and running a business, and their overall business plan.


The UK Innovator visa has conditions and obligations related to creating jobs in the UK. The business idea must have the potential to create jobs and bring economic benefits to the UK, as part of the eligibility criteria for the visa. Additionally, individuals must demonstrate that they have a credible and innovative business idea and the necessary skills and experience to start and run a business in the UK.


While the exact conditions and obligations for creating jobs will depend on the specific business and its needs, the overall aim of the UK Innovator visa is to encourage the establishment of innovative businesses that will contribute to the UK economy. As such, individuals with Innovator visas are expected to establish and run their businesses in a way that creates jobs and brings economic benefits to the UK.


The amount of money needed to fund the business under the UK Innovator visa varies and is dependent on the specific business and its costs. There is no specific minimum figure set by the UK government. However, individuals must demonstrate that they have access to sufficient funds to establish and run their business in the UK without relying on public funds. This requirement is part of the eligibility criteria for the Innovator visa.


The endorsing body that assesses the individual's business idea may have its own specific funding requirements, so it's important to check with the endorsing body for more information on this. Additionally, the amount of funding required may change over time, so it's advisable to check the latest information on the UK government's website.


The UK government maintains a list of approved endorsing bodies for the UK Innovator visa. The endorsing bodies, the sectors they operate in for assessment, and whether their services are free, paid for, or if they take equity stake can vary.


Here is a non-exhaustive list of endorsing bodies for the UK Innovator visa:

  • Tech Nation: Tech Nation assesses business ideas in the technology sector, including digital, software, and life sciences. Their services are paid for.

  • The Founders Factory: The Founders Factory assesses business ideas in the technology sector, including digital, software, and life sciences. They offer their services for a fee and may take an equity stake in the business.

  • Creative England: Creative England assesses business ideas in the creative industries, including film, television, video games, and digital media. Their services are paid for.

  • Cambridge Enterprise: Cambridge Enterprise assesses business ideas in the technology and life sciences sectors. They offer their services for a fee and may take an equity stake in the business.

  • Oxford Sciences Innovation: Oxford Sciences Innovation assesses business ideas in the technology and life sciences sectors. They offer their services for a fee and may take an equity stake in the business.


These are just a few examples of endorsing bodies for the UK Innovator visa, and the information about the fees, services, and equity stake can change.


Lawyery.co

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