Those wishing to apply for the start-up visa will have to fulfil two sets of criteria, Part W3 and Part W5 of the Immigration Rules.
Part W3 contains general eligibility criteria that is applicable to most other visa applications, if not all. The general requirements for the startup visa include that the applicant needs to be over 18 and pass an English language test at upper intermediate (B2) level. This is one level up from the previous entrepreneur requirements of B1 level. Much like the Entrepreneur Visa, Applicants l also need to meet a maintenance requirement by showing they have held £945 in savings over a 90-day period before they apply. This is the same, regardless of in country or out of country applications. They do not need to provide evidence of maintenance funds if the letter from their endorsing body confirms they have been awarded funding of at least £945.Part W5 talks about the need to be endorsed by an organisation that will assess the applicant’s business idea.
An endorsing body will scrutinise an idea for its innovation, viability and scalability. We now have the of organisations who can endorse a business idea. The Home Office has provided a list of groups of businesses that are skilled in supporting entrepreneurs to build businesses that can scale. However, there are a number of the organisations on the list are not yet issuing endorsements and after being contacted some are not even aware of the visa category or their role within it, so it seems that the Home Office don’t yet have a clear process set in place yet.
Criteria for Endorsement:
Part W5.2 of the Immigration Rules:
- Innovation — does the applicant have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage?
- Viability — does the applicant have, or are they actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business?
- Scalability — is there evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets?