Do people change a winning formula? No
Do people change something that isn’t working? Yes (check out football management as an example)
So….The Home Office has changed the Innovator visa and has closed the Start up visa route.
The Innovator visa has been given a new name. Not Fred. It is now called the Innovator Founder visa. Catchy? The Home Office has also slashed the number of endorsing bodies from over 60 to 5.
Out goes the £50,000 investment requirement and visa holders will be able to take up additional work.
Whether the reduction in endorsing bodies will be an improvement on what has been there till now, we wait to see. They all cost money for the applicant with the noble exception of the Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP). GEP is a government programme run by the Department for Business and Trade for internationally mobile, tech-based entrepreneurs and helps them scale and internationalise their innovation rich companies from a UK global HQ. GEP only provide visa endorsements for founders who have already been invited to participate on their programme.
One fundamental problem with the Innovator visa remains unaltered. The hurdles to obtaining ILR are much higher than for the other visa routes.
That is why so many holders of this visa are trying to switch to another visa category – the hurdles to ILR are lower.
It is to be seen if the Home Office will seek to make yet more changes to this route in the future…(see the opening paras above)