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Changes to the Immigration Rules

On 7 March 2019, the Home Office published Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: 2019 (Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 1919, 7 March 2019)

These are the biggest changes to the Immigration System in the UK.

The main changes will affect Tier 1 entrepreneur and investment visas and to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The new Appendix W - Workers will be added to the Immigration Rules and will take effect on 1 August 2019.

Both the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) and the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route will be abolished, and replaced by “start-up” and “innovator” routes.

Start-up Visa

The Graduate Entrepreneur route will be closed to new applicants as of 6 July 2019.

The Home Secretary had announced about the new routes in June 2018. The scheme is to target the young Entrepreneurs and will replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Route, which will be closing on 6 July 2019.

Part W5 of the new Appendix W contains the specific requirements for a start-up visa, including who can endorse applicants for one, their monitoring responsibilities and the form of an endorsement letter.

There will be no requirement for initial investment under this route and the applicants will be granted 2 years visa. The applicants will be able to switch to the innovator route after the two years.

The endorsement will be required from a trusted UK organisation, for example, seed competitions, Government agencies, higher education providers, etc.

In addition, entry clearance or leave to remain in the Start-up or Innovator category may be curtailed if an endorsing body withdraws its endorsement of a migrant or loses its status as an endorsing body for the relevant category.

Innovator visa

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa applications have to be submitted before 29 March 2019.  Applications for extension applications under Tier 1 Entrepreneur route  will remain open until 5 April, 2023 and settlement applications until 5 April, 2025.

Details of the Innovator Visa can be found in Part 6 of Appendix W.

Innovators will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 3 years continuous residence in the UK as innovators, provided they satisfy at least two of a list of criteria relating to how much money they invested, how much the business grew and/or how many jobs they created.

Extension applications for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants will remain open until 5 April 2023, and settlement applications until 5 April 2025. Successful Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants applying for an extension from abroad will be granted 2 years and 4 months leave (as opposed to the current 2 years).

The Innovator route will be for more experienced business people and they will need to prove –

  • Innovation – proof of a business plan – original and genuine which creates new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage;
  • Viability – Applicants will need to prove there experience, knowledge and market awareness to run a business competently;
  • Scalability – Evidence of structured planning and the potential for creating jobs and growth to national and international markets

Investor Visa

Currently, applicants must provide evidence that they have held the funds that they will invest in the UK for at least 90 days or if they have not held them for 90 days, provide evidence of the source of those funds. This 90-day requirement is being extended to a 2-year requirement, to provide greater assurance of the provenance of applicants’ funds.  Applicants who are are currently required to open a UK bank account for the purpose of making their investment before making a Tier 1 (Investor) application. This requirement is being tightened to make explicit that the bank must carry out all required due diligence checks and Know Your Customer enquiries, and confirm that these have been done.

EU Settlement Scheme

Most of the changes to Appendix EU will take effect at 7 am on 30 March 2019.

What this means:

  • Applications can be made from outside the UK
  • Family Permits for Non- EEA citizens will be granted for 6 months to join or accompany an EEA citizen who has been granted leave under the settlement scheme.
  • The current £65 fee for the application will be abolished.
  • Citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, and their family members will be able to apply under the Settlement Scheme.
  • All applications are submitted online except for exceptional circumstances which are yet to be defined.  The applicant can seek help with the new assisted digital service.
  • If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, 29th March 2019 will be the last date for a family relationship to be formed.
  • Administrative reviews can now be made from outside the UK.
  • Some of the general grounds for refusal found at part 9 of the Immigration Rules will apply to applications under the EU Settlement Scheme if the UK leaves without a deal.

The new Statement of Changes is 297 pages. You can contact us today for support with your application under the new rules. 


We specialise exclusively in UK Immigration and Nationality Law. We are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner(OISC). We provide immigration services to clients from worldwide. Immigration law is complex and with the rules constantly changing we strongly recommend that you use specialists to support and represent you from the start. Call us now for an honest opinion of your case, possible costs and options.

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