On 4 June 2020, the Home Office released changes to the UK Immigration Rules. We provide below a brief summary of the key changes made to certain visa categories:
- Representative of an overseas business (also known as ‘the Sole Representative’ visa)
- The overseas business must confirm that the applicant has the ‘relevant skills, experience, knowledge and authority’ for the role;
- Applicants are not able be majority shareholders in the overseas business i.e. they should not hold more than 50% of the shares in the company. The Immigration Rules now elaborate on this point, stating that applicants are now not able to ‘have a majority stake in, or otherwise own or control, that overseas business, whether that ownership or control is by means of a shareholding, partnership agreement, sole proprietorship or any other arrangement’;
- A partner of the main applicant will no longer be eligible for a dependant’s visa if they hold a majority stake in the business;
- The new rules clarify that the overseas business must be active and trading and intend to maintain their principal place of business outside the UK. Applicants must also be ‘genuinely’ recruited from outside of the UK to establish the branch or subsidiary in the UK.
- Start-up and Innovator route (this route replaced the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route in March 2020)
- The Home Office are now able to request further evidence from an applicant or the endorsing body when they believe the endorsement was not appropriately issued. The Home Office will also have the ability to refuse an application where they believe the endorsement criteria has not been met;
- The criteria for becoming endorsing bodies are now consistent. Higher Education Providers are now Innovator endorsing bodies and Government Departments will also become endorsing bodies;
- The ‘viability’ criteria also require that a business plan must be realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources.
- Global Talent visa
- Recommendation letters can now only be three pages long and this will apply to all endorsing bodies;
- It has been confirmed the ‘fashion industry’ route is for those who are designers;
- Tech Nation endorsement criteria – the following changes have been made:
- Applicants must demonstrate their technical expertise ‘with the latest technologies’;
- Applicants who have been senior executives of relevant companies can now meet Key Criteria 1, and this will replace the term ‘Director’; and
- Applicants applying under exceptional promise of the Arts and Culture endorsement criteria can rely on evidence of appearances, performances, publications or exhibitions even if they are not named directly. They would have to provide evidence from a senior individual linked to the work explaining the significant and direct contribution they made.
Gherson has extensive experience with all types of applications for Representative of an Overseas Business, Innovator & Start Up and the Global Talent visas and also Tier 2 visas under the points-based system. If you would like any clarification in respect of the above, 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.
Consultant and trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team