Business & Commercial

Business & Commercial

We are leading immigration lawyers and provide tailored immigration assistance to businesses and individuals. With over 20 years of experience in this area, we have extensive experience and are best placed to advise you of the complex rules.

The Start-up and Innovator visa categories are for non-EEA nationals wishing to set up a business in the UK.

The Start-up Visa

The Start-up category is for early-stage but high potential entrepreneurs who are starting a business in the UK for the first time.

You can apply for a Start-up visa if you want to set up a business in the UK. There is no specific/minimum amount of investment required, but maintenance for the applicant and their dependants must be shown.

You need to have an endorsement from an endorsing body, you must first establish which endorsing body to apply to and in what category (please contact us for the list of endorsing bodies). The endorsing body looks for innovation, viability and scalability.

You can stay in the UK for two years on a Start-up visa.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • bring family members with you
  • switch to this visa from some other visa categories
  • work in another job, as well as working for your business

You cannot:

  • get public funds
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach

The Innovator Visa

The Innovator category is for more experienced business people seeking to establish a business in the UK and similar to the Start-up category, applicants would be required to obtain an endorsement by an approved body before applying for immigration permission.

The applicant’s endorsement letter must confirm that the endorsing body has assessed the applicant’s business proposal.

The innovator visa is aimed as a replacement of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category. The minimum amount of investment is reduced from £200,000 to £50,000. In addition, the applicant will need to demonstrate maintenance funds for themselves and their dependants.

Successful applicants would be granted a three-year permission leave followed by a further three years at the extension stage. There’s no limit on the number of times you can extend.

After five years in the category, migrants under the Innovator route would be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR).

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • set up a business or several businesses
  • work for your business - this includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership
  • bring family members with you

You cannot:

  • do any work outside of your business, for example work where you’re employed by another business
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach
  • get public funds

Please contact us for more information about the start-up or innovator visa categories.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category enables nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to establish, join or take over a business in the UK. This route is now closed to new entrants.

The category remains open to the following:

  • Existing entrepreneurs can extend their leave until 5 April 2023 and apply for indefinite leave to remain up until 5 April 2025, after which the category will close completely;
  • Dependants may still join main applicants who previously obtained Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) permission;
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneurs) may be permitted to switch into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) until 5 July 2021, and these individuals will have until 5 July 2025 to apply for extensions, and 5 July 2027 to apply for ILR.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications face high refusal rates. For further information and to avoid a refusal on your extension, please contact us.

Tier 1 (Investor)

The Tier 1 Investor visa allows high net worth individuals to settle in the UK providing they invest a minimum of £2 million in qualifying investments, as specified by the Home Office.

The Tier 1 Investor visa allows applicants to bring their dependent spouse and any dependent children who are under the age of 18 at the time of application.

The length of time that you must spend in the UK before being able to apply for indefinite leave to remain depends on the level of your investment. If you invest £2 million, you may be able to apply after five years, if you invest £5 million, you may be able to apply after three years and if you invest £10 million, you may be able to apply after two years.

We have experience of advising high net worth individuals seeking to come to the UK as Tier 1 (Investor) migrants. For further information, please contact us to arrange a consultation.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise)

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise) enables nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who are internationally recognised or emerging leaders in science, engineering, humanities, digital technology or the arts to live and work in the UK.

There are 2,000 places available under this visa category between 6 April to 5 April of the following year.

An individual who is granted the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 3 years, whilst an individual granted the Exceptional Promise visa can apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years, subject to satisfying a number of requirements.

What you can and cannot do

You can

  • work - for an employer, as a director of a company or be self-employed
  • change jobs without telling the Home Office
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring dependants with you

You cannot

  • get public funds
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach

Please contact us for more information about the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise) visa categories.

Tier 2 Sponsorship

We are experts at helping organisations navigate the immigration aspects of employing migrant workers.

We are able to advise on a broad range of matters, including:

  • obtaining a sponsor licence;
  • challenging sponsor licence suspension/revocation;
  • challenging employer civil penalties;
  • sponsor licence management;
  • compliance advice and guidance;
  • advice, preparation and submission of applications for staff and their families.

For a bespoke quote on our corporate immigration services, please contact us.

Tier 2 categories

There are several different categories of Tier 2 visa that allow different people in different circumstances to be sponsored to come to the UK to work, these are:

Tier 2 (General)

This category enables licensed employers to sponsor non-EEA/non-Swiss nationals.

Depending on the salary offered to the migrant and other personal circumstances, the company may be required to carry out a resident labour market test before they are able to hire a Tier 2 (General) migrant.

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)

This category allows multinational companies to transfer workers from their overseas operations to a UK branch. There must be common ownership or control of the overseas business and the UK business.

This route does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)

The Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) category enables employers to sponsor nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to undertake religious work within faith communities in the UK.

Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

The Tier 2 (Sportsperson) category enables licensed sports organisations to sponsor top tier athletes and coaches from outside the EEA and Switzerland to work in the UK.

We have many years of experience in Tier 2 applications. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

About Us

Sushma Awtani

Awtani Immigration Solicitors are a leading specialist Divorce and UK Immigration and Nationality law firm founded by Sushma Awtani.

From multinational corporations to high net worth individuals, our professionals provide advice to international organisations, entrepreneurs, small to large sized businesses and private individuals.

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