(This category is due to be replaced by Tier 1 of the Points Based System on 30 June 2008).
This category is designed to attract outstanding entrepreneurs whose business proposals will result in exceptional economic benefit to the UK. Essentially, it is aimed at the emerging science and technology based sectors, especially e-commerce, but it is open to entrepreneurs in all sectors to show that they should benefit from these provisions.
The key features of the Innovator Scheme are:
- a minimum investment is not required, (unlike the businessman and investor categories);
- third party funding is permitted;
- there is no requirement for personal funds to be invested; and
- applications are assessed to identify and select those which will bring exceptional economic benefits to the UK.
It is necessary to show a combination of entrepreneurial ability, technical skills and a viable business proposal which will advance the development of e-commerce or other new technologies in the UK.
To qualify as an innovator the proposed UK business venture must, within the first 12 months of trading, lead to the creation of two full-time jobs for persons settled in the UK (or equivalent if part-time).
In addition, the applicant must personally maintain a minimum of 5% shareholding of the equity capital of the business and be able to maintain and accommodate him or herself and any dependants without recourse to other employment or public funds until the business provides him/her with an income.
Applications are assessed by reference to a points scoring system. To qualify as an innovator one must achieve a minimum number of points in three different areas and reach an overall score in excess of 100 out of 300. The individual areas are:
Here work/business experience and qualifications will be assessed.
The technical, commercial and financial viability of the business plan will be assessed.
Economic benefit to the UK
The number of jobs to be created and the type of skills required will be assessed together with the innovative features of the proposed business.
An application to come to the UK as an Innovator should normally be made to the British mission in the applicant’s country of usual residence. In exceptional cases, the Home Office may consider an application lodged within the UK, although if an applicant is in the UK as a visitor, the application will not be accepted. In that case, the applicant must leave the UK and lodge the application as detailed above.
If approved, an application will be given permission to stay in the UK as an Innovator for 18 months in the first instance. Towards the end of that period, it is possible to apply for an extension of permission up to a total period of 5 years. If an applicant remains in the UK as an innovator for a period of five years, he or she will be eligible for indefinite leave to remain (settlement).
Please contact David Robinson or Evan Remedios on +44 (0)20 7038 3980 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss your immigration requirements.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this brief guide is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief. However, it is written as a general guide only and it is strongly recommended that specific advice is sought before action is taken.