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Innovator visa: Why people are not keen to apply

PUBLISHED: 27 August 2019

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa was abolished in March 2019 and replaced with an Innovator visa. At a first glance, the new visa is so much more attractive because it only requires £50,000 investment. But apparently it is flawed in other aspects, because it has attracted just four applicants in the first 3 months of operation out of which only 2 have been approved so far compared to 738 applications under the abolished Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa in previous quarter.

What’s wrong with the Innovator visa

Apart from the required investment, the applicants must have their idea endorsed by an authorised incubator, government agency, private equity firm or a business development organisation. It sounds doable, but the problem is, there is simply not enough of these endorsing bodies to choose from.

Business accelerators also require entrepreneurs to take part in their programs in order to qualify for an endorsement. And many of them only accept applications to enter their programs once or twice a year. Another issue is high level of competition from UK, EU and non-EU applicants.

Are you ready to share control in your business?

Many accelerators in return for their support, sometimes financial, ask for an equity in your business. It means partly ceding control to and sharing the profit with them. Though acceptable by some businessmen, it is highly disliked by the majority of them.

Overall, it is a lot of hassle in obtaining an Innovator visa, extending it and then applying for settlement. People seem to be put off at the very first deliberation.

Whether it is temporary “failure” of the new Innovator visa or a miscalculation by the Home Office, it has yet to be seen. At the moment it doesn’t look like its “success” is worth the cost of operating the new route.

Start-up visa is off to a slightly better start

Start-up visa which is focused more on the new entrepreneurs has had 32 applications during the first 3 months out of which 23 have been approved, 2 refused and 7 are still waiting for decision.

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