Applying under the Innovator route
Produced in partnership with Gillian McCall of Richmond Chambers and Zoe Bantleman of Richmond Chambers

The following Immigration practice note produced in partnership with Gillian McCall of Richmond Chambers and Zoe Bantleman of Richmond Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Applying under the Innovator route
  • Key resources at a glance
  • Eligibility—entry requirement and TB screening
  • Eligibility (points-based)
  • Eligibility—endorsement (50 points)
  • Practical considerations
  • New business criteria
  • Same business criteria
  • Endorsement letter
  • Eligibility—English language (10 points)
  • More...

Applying under the Innovator route

The Innovator route was introduced into the Immigration Rules (the Rules) on 29 March 2019. Together with the Start-up route, it replaced the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) categories. The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category has been closed to most new entrants and is in the process of phased closure to those already in the category by 2027. See Practice Note: Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)—summary and resources.

The changes were brought in broadly to address the 2015 Migration Advisory Committee’s review of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) categories. The Explanatory Memorandum to the relevant Statement of Changes commented on the findings of the Migration Advisory Committee’s review, stating that the Entrepreneur category was in need of ‘substantial reform’ and ‘contributed little or nothing to the UK economy’. It also stated that central to the Innovator route ‘will be endorsement of applicants by UK trusted bodies—such as business accelerators, seed competitions and government agencies, as well as higher education providers’.

Start-up and Innovator are now the main routes available for individuals who wish to set up a business in the UK. The Start-up route is aimed towards individuals setting up a business in the UK for the first time, while the Innovator route was introduced as catering to ‘experienced businesspeople seeking to establish an innovative business in the

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