Several days ago the UK Government issued a Statement of Changes, which, as the title suggests, brought changes to the UK Immigration System. A lot of them. In this article, I’ll summarise changes for family members of EEA nationals, Start-up and Innovator Routes. In the next article, I’ll explain changes to Global Talent, Overseas Business Representative and family life in the UK rules.
Family Members of EEA National who Became Victims of Domestic Violence
This category is now included in the EU Settlement Scheme. This is a scheme, which allows EEA nationals and their family members to remain in the UK after 31 December 2020.
From 4 June 2020 any family member within the scope of the EU Settlement Scheme whose family relationship with a relevant EEA citizen has broken down permanently as a result of domestic violence or abuse will have a continued right of residence. This is provided it is warranted by domestic violence or abuse against them or another family member. The EU Settlement Scheme definition of a family member is not as generous as the one under the EU law. It only includes a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, child, dependent parent or a dependent relative. ‘A relevant EEA citizen’ includes a qualifying British citizen.
Potential applicants will need to prove that their marriage or civil partnership had lasted for at least three years before the initiation of proceedings for its termination. Additionally, the couple will need to prove that they have lived together in the UK for at least a year during their marriage. The family member will be able to rely on this continued right of residence, together with their own continuous residence in the UK, in applying for status under the EU Settlement Scheme. In other words, for the purposes of making their Indefinite Leave to Remain application they can add years they live in the UK before termination of their marriage and after.
Changes to the Start-up and Innovator Categories
The Start-up and Innovator categories are for business founders who have been endorsed by approved bodies as having innovative, viable and scalable business ideas.
The Start-up immigration category is for people seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. Applicants will have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. This category offers leave (visa) for only 2 years. It is not possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in this category. However, start-up applicants may progress into the Innovator category.
The Innovator immigration category is for more experienced business people who want to establish a business in the UK. Applicants will have to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body. With some exceptions, applicants will have funding to invest in their business. This category may lead to settlement in the UK.
From 4 June 2020, to get an endorsement, both, the Start-up and the Innovator category applicants will need to be founders of their businesses. Furthermore, they will need to prove that they’ll be relying on their own business plans. These changes also clarify that an Innovator applicant’s business may be already trading, providing they were one of its founders.
From 4 June 2020, the decision-makers will a right ask for more information or evidence from applicants or their endorsing bodies. This is if they have concerns that an endorsement has been issued inappropriately. After further enquiries, they can refuse applications if this information or documents did not confirm that the endorsement criteria have been met.
A Business Plan
Both the start-up and the innovator migrants, when making their applications, will need to provide a business plan confirming that they have an innovative, viable and scalable business plan. From 4 June 2020, the “viability” criteria will also require a business plan to be realistic and achievable based on the applicant’s available resources.
The UK Government will also change the Immigration Rules to legalise the right of the start-up and innovators workers to change business venture. This will be possible if their endorsing bodies confirm that the new venture meets all of the criteria for endorsement. Endorsing body is an organisation which has been approved by the Home Office to endorse applicants in the Start-up, Innovator of Global talents categories.
What is crucial in this change is that in these circumstances the applicants not need to obtain a fresh endorsement or make a fresh application. This change was introduced in order not to prevent the applicants from applying under the “same business” criteria in their next Innovator application. This is particularly important for applicants switching from Start-up to Innovator. This is because they would otherwise need to meet the £50,000 funding threshold for “new business” applications.
Also, from 4 June 2020 Higher Education Providers may become Innovator endorsing bodies.