Investor, business and talent UK Work Visas

There are over 85 UK visa types. To help you understand various UK immigration routes, I’ve divided these visa types into six main categories.

There are visas for:

  1. Visiting the UK
  2. Studying in the UK
  3. Working in the UK:
    1. Long-term UK work visas
    2. Short-term UK work visas
    3. Investor, business and talent routes
    4. Other work-related routes
  1. Joining family members in the UK:
    1. Settlement routes
    2. Temporary work-related routes
  2. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens
  3. Protecting citizens


This article is a part of the ‘UK Immigration and All UK Visa Types in 2021’ article series. Below, I’ll explain the third category – visa types suitable for those who would like to work in the UK.

The topic is very deep. Therefore, today we’ll concentrate on the investor, business and talent routes only. In the previous articles, we’ve covered long-term and short-term UK work visa routes.

You can get all the links to articles and videos from this series HERE.

Please note that the UK immigration routes, which I explain below, are suitable for those who do not have a right of abode in the UK. Even if your country is not on a visa national list, if you intend to work, you still need to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK.


UK Work Visas

There are over 29 types of work-related UK visas. We can divide them into 4 categories:

  1. Long-term work-related routes
  2. Short-term work-related routes
  3. Investor, business and talent routes
  4. Other work-related routes

This week we’ll cover:


Investor, business and talent UK Work Visas

There are 5 types of visas belonging to this category:

  1. Start-up
  2. Innovator
  3. Global Talent
  4. Tier 1 Entrepreneur
  5. Tier 1 Investor




Investor, Business and Talent UK Work Visas
Investor, Business and Talent UK Work Visas

The Start-up route is for those who want to establish a business in the UK for the first time.

You’ll need to find an Endorsing body. The Home Office will need to approve this endorsing body and put them on their list.

The endorsing body can be a UK higher education institution. Alternatively, it can be a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.

For the endorsing body to approve your application, you’ll need to provide a business plan, which proves that you have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea.

In other words, you cannot join a business that is already trading. You have to have an original business idea that is different from anything else on the market.

And finally, you’ll need to show that your idea has growth potential.

As with all other Points-Based System UK immigration routes, start-up applicants will need to score 70 points to succeed in the application. You’ll get 25 points for the innovative, viable and scalable factors. The Home Office will add another 25 points when you provide evidence confirming that it’s a new business. Another 10 points for English language proficiency at level B2. And you’ll be able to get the final 10 points for meeting the financial requirement.

Start-up is not a route to settlement. You can stay for up to 2 years if you come to the UK on a Start-up visa. Alternatively, you switch to this visa from some other UK visas while in the UK.

The good news is that you can progress from Start-up to the Innovator route, which is a route to settlement.



However, the route to settlement comes with the price. The Innovator route is for a different group of seasoned entrepreneurs.

First of all, similar to the start-up category, you’ll need to prove that you have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea. The Home Office approved endorsing body will need to agree with you on that.

Also, the Home Office will typically expect you to have funds of at least £50,000 to invest in your business. Additionally, you’ll need to have a key role in the day to day management and development of the business.

However, the good news is that after three years of holding the innovator visa, you can settle in the UK. If this is not your intention, you can apply to extend your visa in this category. Rather uniquely, you can extend your innovator visa indefinitely. In other words, you can apply to extend your stay in the Innovator immigration category as many times as you choose to. However, you’ll need to meet the requirements for these applications to be successful.


Global Talent

The Global Talent route is one of the best UK work visas you can get. It offers tons of flexibility and allows you to settle in the UK, in most cases, only after 3 years. You don’t need to have any funds to apply. You don’t need to meet the English language requirement.

This visa is for those who are over the age of 18. To qualify, you’ll need to show that you have exceptional talent or exceptional promise in the field of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture.

For the majority, it’s going to be a two-part application process. The first part is an application for endorsement. The second part is visa application. The Home Office call it an application for entry clearance or permission to stay.

You have a choice and can make the application for endorsement before making your visa application. Alternatively, you can make both applications simultaneously.

However, I do not recommend the second option (making applications simultaneously). The refusal rate of endorsement applications is very high. If you submit both applications at the same time and the Endorsing body refuses your endorsement application, then the Home Office will need to refuse your visa application automatically. The refusal will go on your Home Office immigration history record. If you apply for endorsement first, the refusal will not stain your immigration history record.

If you are a winner of a prestigious prize you don’t need to apply for endorsement. You can apply for a visa straightaway.


Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Tier 1 Entrepreneur route just got retired. It was very similar to the Innovator route. However, Tier 1 Entrepreneurs, in the majority of cases, need to invest at least £200,000 in their business to qualify.

The route is about to die, and you can no longer apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

You can only apply:

  1. For indefinite leave to remain after holding this type of visa for 5 years. You’ll need to meet the validity, suitability and eligibility requirements to succeed, of course.
  2. to extend your visa
  3. for family members to join you


Tier 1 Investor

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa if you want to invest £2,000,000 or more in the UK. You’ll need to meet the other eligibility requirements to qualify.

Rather unprecedently, you can apply for Indefinite leave to remain in the UK only after 2 years of staying in the UK. You’ll need to invest £10 million to qualify. If you invest £5 million – you can settle after only 3 years of remaining in the UK.

To meet the eligibility requirement, first of all, you’ll need to be over 18. Secondly, you’ll need to prove that the money belongs to either you or your partner (it doesn’t matter if you are not married). Thirdly, you’ll need to have opened an account at a UK regulated bank to use for your funds. Your fund must be at one or more regulated financial institutions. Also, that you are free to spend your money. In other words, that they are ‘disposable’ in the UK. Your money can be in the UK or overseas when you apply.

Further Help

And finally, if you would like to understand the UK visa rules, you may find it useful to attend one of these online courses:

  1. ‘Three Secrets of a Successful UK Visitor Visa Application’ 
  2. ’10 Ways to Avoid the Refusal of Your British Citizenship Application.’ 
  3. ‘How to Meet the Financial Requirement of Your British Spouse Visa Application when Applying from Outside the UK’ 
  4. ‘How to Avoid the Refusal of Your Adult Dependent Relative UK Visa Application.’ 

For more online courses, check THIS PAGE.

To get regular UK Visa updates, please subscribe to a weekly newsletter HERE.

Investor, Business and Talent UK Work Visas
Investor, Business and Talent UK Work Visas
Investor, Business and Talent UK Work Visas