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Obtaining UK Innovator Visa for Chinese Family of Entrepreneurs

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I had been thinking about growing my business for a long time. When my son shared his IT developments, I realised that it was time to do something about it. We were looking for where to grow our business and eventually chose the UK. Although the business idea was brilliant, I had no idea about how to enter a new market and move abroad. Fortunately, I found Imperial & Legal online and I am happy to have contacted them.

Wang Mai, 47 years old
A businessman from China
Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Foreign entrepreneurs choose the UK to register a company more often than any other European country. It offers significant benefits to business owners. Entrepreneurs can also benefit from special tax regimes and government support for small and medium-sized companies.

Moreover, UK companies can receive financing, become dormant and much more. Another thing to remember is that the UK market is thriving, especially in construction, financial services and banking; it is a source of new clients, partners and suppliers.

In March 2019, new visas were launched for foreign investors, UK Innovator visa and UK Start-up visa, while the Home Office stopped accepting applications for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. Both successful entrepreneurs and start-uppers have been contacting Imperial & Legal to help them with fast-track applications. An entrepreneur from China was one of them; he wanted to get an Innovator visa and relocate to the UK.

Our client

Wang Mai is a 47-year-old from China. He is the owner of a real estate company focusing on the pre-owned properties. This requires a special approach to both sellers and buyers.

Wang Mai prepared a business idea using his son’s IT skills. It combined real estate expertise with blockchain and artificial intelligence. It was thought to increase the quantity and quality of sales because IT technologies are more effective in dealing with customers. That is why the head of the family decided that their business idea could be successful both in China and the UK.

Wang Mai and his family, consisting of his wife, daughter, son and daughter-in-law, were planning to move to the UK to realise the business idea.

The Challenge

To help with obtaining a UK Innovator visa, from obtaining an endorsement from a relevant body to preparing an application for the main applicant and all family members.

The Solution

During the consultation, Imperial & Legal’s immigration advisors decided that father and son would apply for a UK Innovator visa separately, each in their own right. This meant each had to have at least £50,000 to invest. They would obtain an endorsement letter from an endorsing body separately, and then apply for a visa for themselves and dependants (spouse and minor children).

Imperial & Legal’s business analysts drafted a business plan describing the idea of using blockchain and artificial intelligence for a real estate business. It included using CRM systems for the full control of a sales department and its performance, monitoring client’s activity at all steps of the deal, automating the upload of information onto the websites, and setting up contextual advertising.

Artificial intelligence would be used to deal with clients. Speech analytics would be used, in which artificial intelligence would analyse the conversation against scripts and monitor the client’s mood to predict the probability of a sale. The idea was so fascinating that we already got investors at the development stage.

The business plan said that both entrepreneurs would participate in the project. However, each of them confirmed their financial status separately and passed an English test to level B2, which is necessary to obtain a UK Innovator visa.

It takes 3 months for Wang Mai’s family to get UK Innovator visas

18 May
The client gets in touch with Imperial & Legal
+3 weeks
A business plan is drafted
+1 week
Documents are collected and approved
+1 day
An application is sent to the endorsing body
+3 weeks
An endorsement letter is granted
+1 day
Documents for a visa are submitted
+1 week
Biometrics are taken
+4 weeks
Application is processed
13 August
The family gets their UK Innovator visas


We managed to get the business plan approved quickly and apply for visas for both the main applicants and their dependants at the same time.

Imperial & Legal offers more than just visa support. In addition to obtaining business visas, we have three packages for registering and supporting companies in the UK and other services.

Wang Mai went for the Imperial package. Our team submitted an incorporation application and obtained a certificate of incorporation from the Companies House, registered the company for VAT with tax authorities, HMRC. We also helped the company find an office and hire staff, open a corporate bank account and personal accounts for dependants. The package also includes on-demand business consultations.

A turnkey relocation solution also meant finding two flats for Wang Mai’s family, a school for the daughter, and an English language course for Wang Mai’s and his son’s wives in a prestigious language school.

The investors are so keen to fund the project that both families would likely get an indefinite leave to remain, ILR, in three years.

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