Starting from the 29th of March 2019, it's no longer possible for people in search of UK visas to apply for a tier 1 UK work permit.
The tier 1 permit was highly popular among wealthier entrepreneurs looking to make their way into the country in the past. Unfortunately, it frequently came under fire by some groups, who claimed that the rules around the visa meant that only the most monied individuals could come to the UK.
The tier 1 strategy is now being replaced with a new UK work permit, called the "Tier 1 innovator visa". This visa, together with the start-up immigration route designed for entrepreneurs presents a host of opportunities to people beyond the standard tier 2 work permit.
The Innovator visa is different from the previous immigration UK routes available for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Although it works on a similar point-based system, applicants are requested to have their business ideas endorsed by approved bodies, such as Deep Science Ventures, or Tech Nation.
For now, reports suggest that many of the endorsing bodies capable of offering the Tier 1 UK work permit are not yet in a position where they can support new applicants. The right systems aren't in place, and with Brexit on the horizon, it's unlikely that we'll see the concept settle in the coming weeks.
Aside from the appropriate endorsement, applicants for these UK visas will also need to have at least £50,000 in investment funds to apply to begin their business in the UK. If the company has already been established or endorsed by a prior UK work permit, the funds aren't necessary. It's also possible to fund a company visa with a group of people. However, every member of the team will be requested to contribute £50,000 in investment funds.
People who are successful in applying for this new alternative to the tier 2 work permit will be able to access a number of advantages, including access to a three-year leave to remain in the UK.