The Cameron Junta’s new £50K Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is something worth considering. This visa category allows start-up companies, which are initially exempted from mandatory accounting requirements, to enter into mentoring relationships with seed capital funds such as Seedcamp and Springboard. Subsequently, if these programmes offer £50,000 to the start-up company then the entrepreneur can use the business to acquire a three-year entrepreneur visa – extendable by another two years (which culminates in settlement).
Generally, the total capital requirements of the £50K visa are that the applicant must have access to funds which are provided by one or more of the following sources: (a) registered venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority; (b) UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions listed as endorsed on the UK Trade and Investment website; and (c) UK government departments, which have made the funds available for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.
Of the above, (b) is interesting as it is where Springboard and Seedcamp come into the picture. Springboard, which is connected to Cambridge University and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), describes itself as a “mentorship-led accelerator program for start-ups, providing seed capital”: the programme also provides office space and funding of £5,000 to each founder of the start-up. Founders must move to Cambridge and after completing Springboard’s 13 week programme they have to present their start-up to venture capitalists and angel investors (those who invest their own money) on “Investor Day”.
Equally, Seedcamp introduces itself as “an early-stage micro seed investment and mentoring programme” whose investment decisions are made on the basis of a person winning scheduled events. Seedcamp’s activities are related to jumpstarting entrepreneurial spirit in Europe. The programme achieves this objective its mentors who are committed company builders and include “seed investors, serial entrepreneurs, product experts, HR and PR specialists, marketers, lawyers, recruiters, journalists and venture capitalists.”
Seedcamp also explains that following investment new companies are “included in an intensive year-long programme of events focusing on all the aspects of company’s development.”
Even if emailed on a Sunday (for further information about its work), Springboard writes back almost immediately, whereas Seedcamp is not as responsive as their competitor and emails written to them requesting further information in relation to the Cameron Junta’s new visa regime for the “best and the brightest” remain unanswered.
This, the Tier 1 50K visa, should prove to be a great way for the richer people of the world to stay on and settle in the UK, say for instance, after completing their studies here.
An interesting question which poses itself for prospective applicants who are presently outside the UK is how to get here in the first place prior to beginning work on their start-up with Seedcamp or Springboard etc?
Or maybe the visa was simply designed for “western” citizens? In all probability the Cameron Junta would answer “but of course it was”.
Finally, it has been an awfully long time since the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route was announced by the UKBA and applications under this category will be open from 9 August 2011 (or so the policy guidance says). The exceptional talent route will be limited to 1000 migrants per annum. Mr Damian Green has provided the following breakdown under the route:
- The Arts Council England will be able to nominate 300 migrants
- The Royal Society will be able to nominate 300 migrants
- The Royal Academy of Engineering will be able to nominate 200 migrants
- The British Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences will be able to nominate 200 migrants