Covid-19: Economic Disaster Or The Land Of Opportunity?

16 Apr 2020, 19 mins ago

Warning: nothing in this article can be construed or should be construed as investment advice. Before making any investment in the UK individuals should seek specialist advice which we do not give.

The ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has brought significant changes to both our daily lives and the global economic landscape. Many predict a prolonged economic recession or even a depression is on the way. However, could this also be an opportunity for a new start?

Investors claim that ‘it has never been a better time to start a company’. Indeed, in a world where established businesses with rigid structures seem to be losing their footing and rapidly becoming obsolete, it appears that start-up companies may have a better chance of survival in the face of so much global uncertainty. Due to their agile set-up and responsiveness to ever-changing demand signals, start-ups are believed to be highly adaptable to the present conditions. Also, the significant weakening of the established competition has resulted in a more level playing field thus giving start-up companies a chance to succeed without being instantly crushed by major players. In fact, it is being said that this period could become the Golden Age for innovation and entrepreneurship.

In early March, the Government published its annual budget, pledging to increase investment in science, innovation and technology to £22 billion by 2024–2025. Apart from promising direct investment into research and development, the Government stated that it will fund various programmes designed to support businesses in different sectors. For example, the Government pledged to provide £50 million to the National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF). Working in cooperation with investors from the private sector, the fund will be able to make direct investments into companies focused on the development of advanced technologies aimed at ensuring longer-term national and economic security in the UK. The Life Sciences Investment Programme is another investment project of this nature. Due to be launched within a year, it is expected to enable the investment of £600 million (coming from both public and private funds) to support the UK’s best health and life science innovations. Moreover, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and the Government Office for Science will receive an additional £2 million in 2020–2021 to reinforce cross-cutting strategic science capabilities.

Such ambitious investment plans aimed at supporting research and development across the board seem to dovetail with the newly-introduced Innovator and Start-Up visa categories. These immigration routes have been set up for early-stage entrepreneurs with high potential projects and for more experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK. 

In order to streamline the application process, the UK Government has appointed the Department for International Trade (DIT) as an endorsing body. From now on, the DIT will be able to directly support visa applications for eligible foreign investors seeking to start a business in the UK.

Although the Start-Up and Innovator categories were introduced into the UK immigration system only relatively recently, Gherson has already assisted our clients with successful visa applications under these categories. Gherson has extensive experience of all aspects of UK immigration law and is actively assisting our clients with their applications and immigration status during the current period. Should you require any assistance or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2020