UK’s ‘Most generous’ visas to attract talent and boost productivity
The UK government has proposed the introduction of three different visas in order to assist fast-growth companies to recruit workers overseas, attract graduates from the world's top universities, and pursue foreign entrepreneurs and founders of tech start-ups.
These new additions to the UK visa system are deemed the “most attractive” in the world for high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs and will attempt to drive up productivity and economic growth in the country.
The new visas will also open up further possibilities for employers based in the UK as well as for foreign business people who wish to explore options for coming into the UK to work without having to rely on a UK-based employer. They will also appeal to entrepreneurs and investors whose options for coming to the UK have been reduced in recent years.
Applications will begin in the next few months for:
Under this route:
- An individual must hold a high-skilled job offer with a salary of at least £33,000 and meet an English language requirement.
- Scale-ups will be able to apply to use the route through a fast-track verification process.
To qualify as a scale-up, a business must have:
- Annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a 3-year period greater than 20%.
- A minimum of 10 employees at the start of the 3-year period.
High Potential Individual visa
This will be open to high-potential graduates from top global universities. The definitions and eligibility requirements for ‘top global university’ and ‘high potential graduates’ have yet to be defined but are likely to respectively include a closed list of government-approved institutions, and characteristics such as age, salary, and postgraduate qualifications.
This route will allow:
- Graduates relocate to the UK without first having secured a job.
- Settlement in the UK – the parameters and requirements of eligibility for permanent residence under this route have yet to be defined.
An innovator is also planned for 2022 and will seek to enable overseas investors and entrepreneurs to start and operate businesses in the UK that are either venture-backed or harnessing innovative technologies.
Under this route:
- There will be greater flexibility – there will no longer be a requirement for applicants to have at least £50,000 in investment funds, provided that the applicant has sufficient funds to grow their business. Applicants will also be able to undertake work outside their primary business on this route.
- Business eligibility criteria will be streamlined and simplified – applicants will need to demonstrate that their business has the potential to grow, add value to the UK, and remain innovative.
- An option will exist to fast-track applications – applicants whose business ideas are ‘particularly advanced’ will have this option available to them.