On the 22 July 2021, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a policy paper which sets out the UK Government’s ambitious plans to “make the UK a world-leader in science, research and innovation”.

The Innovation Strategy sets out their vision to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035 with the intention to make the UK the easiest country in the world for top innovative talent to enter

What does the Innovation Strategy say?

As part of the growth plan, the UK government intends to introduce two key immigration routes and revitalise the innovator visa to open the UK to top talented highly skilled migrants.

These new reforms are expected in a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules later this year.

Immigration routes:

The High Potential Individual route
Open to those who have graduated from a top global university. Unlike other immigration routes, this route is unsponsored so UK employers will not need a sponsor licence and individuals will not require a job offer.

This route will give eligible foreign nationals flexibility to work, and switch to jobs or employers, settle in the UK and make contributions to the UK economy.

The Scale-Up Visa

Open to skilled migrant workers who have a job offer from a qualifying ‘Scale Up’ business at the required salary level to enter the UK.

Scale-Ups can through a fast-track verification process and must demonstrate an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a three-year period greater than 20% in addition to a minimum of ten employees at the start of the three-year period. This route will give greater flexibility to work in the UK and to move between different employers, extend visas and settled in the UK, subject to meeting specific requirements.

A revitalised Innovator route

An existing immigration route for talented innovators and entrepreneurs from overseas to start and operate a business in the UK that is venture-backed or harnesses innovative technologies, creating jobs for the UK workers and boosting growth.

Changes will mean applicants will no longer be required to have at least £50,000 in investment funds to apply. Applicants will need to show that their business has a high potential to grow and add value to the UK, and that it is innovative, instead of having to prove growth in international markets, as is the case currently. The revamp of this route intends to make the route more accessible and desirable.

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Whether the policy paper will confront bureaucracy and give control back to entrepreneurs remains to be seen but these reforms are a certainly step in the right direction. They will sit alongside the Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) that has a track record of success in attracting high skilled migrant tech founders with IP-rich businesses to the UK.

If you require any assistance with doing business in the UK or require information on the latest immigration development, contact our business immigration team

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Published: 4th August 2021
Area: Energy

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