Following the announcement of the most recent statement of changes to the Immigration Rules in a written statement to the House of Commons on 9 March 2023, we take a look at the introduction of the Innovator Founder route, what it will replace, and the eligibility criteria.

When will the Innovator Founder route take effect from?

The Innovator Founder route will be open from 13 April 2023, replacing the existing Innovator route and resulting in the closure of the Start-Up route.  The Innovator Founder route is designed for overseas nationals seeking to come to the UK for the purpose of establishing an innovative business.

Summary of changes

The key changes from the current Innovator route include:

  • The removal of the £50,000 minimum funds requirement;
  • Supplemental employment permitted in skilled roles; and
  • Meetings with the endorsing body during the period of permission reduced to two.

It is expected the removal of the £50,000 minimum funds requirement will make the Innovator Founder route more flexible for those with a genuine business proposal and the sufficient funds available to deliver it.

Permitting Innovator Founders to engage in employment outside of the running of their business is an encouraging change, as it will assist applicants financially during the early stages of their new business.

What is the eligibility criteria?

New applicants to this route are still required to demonstrate an innovative, viable and scalable business idea and will require endorsement from one of three new Endorsing Bodies that will be published at

Applicants with an Innovator visa, endorsed prior to 13 April 2023, can continue to be endorsed by Legacy Endorsing Bodies as long as it is for the same business idea used in their initial application.

How can we help?

If you are a current Innovator visa holder, or are considering applying to the new Innovator Founder route and would like to discuss how the changes affect you, contact Tijen Ahmet or Calum Hanrahan.

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Calum is an immigration law expert and offers advice to individuals and businesses across a variety of sectors including agriculture, manufacturing and sport.

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Published: 6th April 2023
Area: Business Immigration

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