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Sohan Sidhu, of Ellisons Solicitors, in Bury St Edmunds explains the visa options for people coming to the UK to set up a business





We are often contacted by individuals based abroad who are looking to set up a business in the UK.

Fortunately, there are a number of visa options which can be considered.

The options include:

Sohan Sidhu, partner and head of immigration at Ellisons Solicitors
Sohan Sidhu, partner and head of immigration at Ellisons Solicitors

A Start-Up Visa

This is for individuals who are looking to set up a new innovative business in the UK and this route would specifically benefit entrepreneurs who are looking to establish a business in the UK for the first time.

The individual will be able to set up and run a business in the UK and their initial visa will normally be valid for a period of two years. As part of the application process, the individual will need to obtain prior endorsement from a Home Office-approved endorsing body which will need to be satisfied that the business idea is an innovative one. If successful, the endorsing body will issue a letter of endorsement and this will be required when making a visa application along with meeting all of the other immigration rules including the mandatory English language requirement.

Innovator Visa

Unlike the Start-Up Visa, this visa is designed for experienced entrepreneurs who are looking to set up a new innovative business in the UK. Again, the applicant will require endorsement from a Home Office-approved endorsing body and they will also need to provide evidence that they have funds of at least £50,000 available to them to invest in their prospective UK business. Unlike the Start-Up Visa, the Innovator Visa will be issued for three years and while it can be extended, there is also the prospect to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) after three years if all of the eligibility criteria are met.

UK Expansion Worker Visa

This visa is a relatively new addition to the UK’s visa routes and is part of the Global Business Mobility Visa scheme. The route is designed for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK and the individual will need to be a senior manager or specialist employee coming to the UK in order to establish an entity connected to the overseas company by way of common ownership. Unlike the Start-Up and Innovator Visas, this route is a sponsored route and will require the business to apply for and obtain a Home Office Sponsor Licence. The applicant will initially be issued a visa valid for one year and this can then be extended by another year from inside the UK but after two years, the applicant will need to switch into a different visa category in order to continue working in the UK.

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The UK’s immigration landscape is fast moving and for further advice on the above visa categories or any other immigration matters, contact Sohan Sidhu by email at Sohan.Sidhu@Ellisonssolicitors.com or by telephone on 01284 763333