Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications are no longer available for South African passport holders.

The British government have updated their offerings to a “Start Up” visa and an “Innovator” visa.

Focus has now shifted from South African entrepreneurs with approximately R4M (£200 000) cash to invest into a business in the UK (previous Tier 1 rules) to now attracting companies looking to start a fresh new company in the UK.

Previously South Africans could invest in existing firms, now South Africans are expected to demonstrate a business concept (start up) and gain approval on business viability by governing bodies.

The Start Up visa is only issued for 2 years (with no option to extend). So business owners here need to be prepared to invest in setting up and being able to run operations remotely.

The Innovator visa has a buy in requirement (minimum investment of £50 000 [approximately R1M] per innovator. Here the visa is issued initially for 3 years (as opposed to 2 years) and offers applicants the chance to earn British nationality. 

Both approaches need to gain approval from third party governing bodies. This is where we come in. Helping prepare and submit these cases.

The major benefit of these visas are that they give South Africans (without marriage or birth ties to the UK) an opportunity to test their skills in the UK market.

The Innovator visa gives South Africans the opportunity to earn British nationality (and get a British passport). We’re quite excited by this fact alone.

There are not many visas that easily give South Africans an opportunity to get British nationality and this one can be considered the easiest means to do so.


This Tier 1 category of the point based visa system has evolved from the previous “Highly Skilled” to the “Highly Valued” category. The British government have cleverly put emphasis on their need for capital injection (as a priority) as opposed to degree holders with high earnings (which the previous Highly Skilled Migrant Program made provision for).


For those wondering if this visa is feasible, we recommend first addressing these initial qualifying requirements:

    1. Does the applicant have access to £50 000 (Fifty Thousand Pounds) cash savings – in their personal capacity?
    2. Are those funds able to be invested into a UK business (or franchise)?
    3. Does the applicant have a business model they are looking to establish in the UK?

If you are an interested applicant and you have answered yes to the above 3 questions, then the Innovator visa is for you (and Move Up is here to help lodge successful and efficient first time outcomes).


Immediate family dependents, specifically married like partner and minors (shared biological, step and adopted) below the age of 18 years at the time of submission, are easily permitted to join the main applicant.

Another benefit of the Innovator visa is that the dependents are granted settlement rights. That is the right to live, work and study in the UK. The dependents are also given the opportunity to earn British nationality (like the main applicant) through continued UK residence.

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Each business owner (and entrepreneur) is different. We have also dealt with different age groups (which in turn shows different priorities).

Therefore, in terms of presenting successful first time outcomes, we are able to present solutions for the following types of entrepreneurs:

    • Experienced Trader
    • Active Business Developer
    • Passive Business Developer

Most of our entrepreneurs cases consist of Experienced Traders. Experienced business practices that have made a success in South Africa often like to grow their product or service in a first world economy. This approach obviously has less risked involved because the entrepreneur has their past experience to draw upon. They know what key performing indicators are and they can quickly adapt and alter based on what their SA venture has taught them.

We have also witnessed are serial entrepreneurs, those who are ready to break out and try something new (or similar). In these cases, the entrepreneur still insists on being quite active in the setting up and development of this new venture. Hence we refer to them as “Active Business Developers”. This approach to the UK market has a higher risk (when compared to Experience Traders who take their known SA product or service and take it directly into the UK).

Finally we have come across more passive entrepreneurs. The kind that likes to set systems in place and then only work 4 hours a week.

In all 3 approaches to the UK market, Move Up has innovative solutions available. Each case is unique and our team of caseworkers serve to help present the visa case that is best applicable to the applicants intent.


At this stage, we trust that interested applicants have realized that Move Up puts its money where is mouth is by offering a full case fee refund guarantee (and not a “no win some fee” guarantee). Further details about our standard refund policy can be found here.

Those wanting to find out about what a standard application entails can find out here. Our fees page serves to create awareness of the visa fee (and excludes the compulsory NHS surcharge).

Interested applicants are encouraged to get in contact for further information.