Start up visa and Innovator Visa
Both these visas are designed for entrepreneurs who want to set up and run a business in the UK.
The Start-Up visa is ideal for new entrepreneurs and for those who do not have strong financial backing. It can be applied for either from outside the UK or within the UK, and Tier 4 students may be able to switch into it.
There is no requirement for investment funds but there is a requirement for endorsement, either from a university or a Home Office-approved endorsement organisation (of which the Home Office has published a list).
This can be a very good visa route for students who have graduated and who want to stay on in the UK and work.
However, it does have its limits: the visa is granted for just two years without any possibility of extension, so when the visa comes to an end the migrant has to switch into something else or return home.
The Innovator visa is more “solid”, in the sense that it is granted for three years, can potentially be extended and can potentially lead to settlement.
However, not only does it require endorsement (but in this case it is only possible from an endorsement body, not a university), it also requires investment funds of £50,000.
But it is worth knowing that a migrant holding a Start-Up visa can switch in-country to an Innovator visa, and it is also worth knowing that, in this situation, the Innovator visa applicant does not have to show any investment funds.
So, either singly or in conjunction, both these visas can be very helpful for aspiring entrepreneurs, as long as they can obtain the required endorsement.