The British Government has announced a new visa for entrepreneurs that means applicants no longer need to have a university degree.
The new visa aims to help reverse a fall in the number of new companies being formed in the UK which has fallen for the first time since 2008.
However, while a degree is not a requirement, applicants for the new visa will still need an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor. A list will be published in due course.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that the new visa will open the immigration process up to a wider pool of talented entrepreneurs and will speed up the application process. ‘The UK can be proud that we are a leading nation when it comes to tech and innovation, but we want to do more to attract businesses to the UK and our migration system plays a key part in that,’ he pointed out.
‘That’s why I am pleased to announce a new visa for people wanting to start a business in the UK. This will help to ensure we continue to attract the best global talent and maintain the UK’s position as a world leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurs. It shows the commitment to making the UK a dynamic, open and globally trading nation,’ he added.
The new visa has been welcomed by the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association that supports SMEs and private investors across the alternative finance arena. It said that it has repeatedly heard from investors and business leaders concerns about the closing of Britain’s doors post-Brexit.
‘It shows that the Government is listening to the business community and ensuring that the best and brightest from abroad are able to come and work in the UK,’ said Mark Brownridge, director general of the EISA.
Other visa changes are also being made. The exceptional talent visa is to be extended to include leading fashion designers. They will have their application assessed by the British Fashion Council under the endorsement remit of Arts Council England (ACE), one of the existing five endorsing bodies on that route.
The route has also been opened up to a wider pool of TV and film applicants, under the remit of ACE, thanks to changes to the list of eligible industry awards and how recently applicants must have won or been nominated for them. The route already covers leading talent in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts and is open to 2,000 people a year.
And the Home Office has expanded the list of countries from which students will be able to benefit from a streamlined application process. Students from an additional 11 countries, including China, will be able to provide a reduced level of documentation when applying for their Tier 4 visa.
‘The changes show that we are able to adapt to meet the demands of our frontline services and ensure we are able to attract people who can bring real benefits to our creative industries,’ said Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes.