Since the pandemic, the UK government have taken a turn in their direction. They have the pick of the crop when it comes to “foreign skillsets” they want to attract.
Having witnessed over a decade of changes, it seems like Boris Johnson has taken inspiration from the UK’s TV show: “Dragons Den” and set visa rules on those same provisions.
South Africans are now expected to pitch their business ideas to VC’s and gain “endorsement” from these appointed firms. Once endorsed, South Africans can setup shop in the UK and bring their immediate family members over in UK relocation.
These Venture Capital (VC) firms are presented the opportunity to invest in these inbound opportunities but more often than not, they gain remuneration through the participation of their assessment services.
We have witnessed some VC’s insisting upon engagement in their incubation process before endorsement can proceed. Other firms insist upon a stake in the new UK entity before being considered.
Thus far, the “cheapest” endorsement requirement we have crossed is a “continued membership” once visa is approved.
It is understandable, these endorsements considerations take time (and energy) and the endorsement bodies/VC’s have to be guaranteed money for this time spent.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa versus Innovator visa
To help understand the new process, South Africans can compare the previous visa provisions to the current ones as followed:
|Tier 1 Entrepreneur||Innovator Visa|
|How much start up capital is needed?||£200 000||£50 000|
|Is Endorsement needed for UK visa puposes?||No.||Yes.|
|Investment into existing UK firms permitted?||Yes.||No.|
|Can immediate family members join the investor?||Yes.||Yes.|
|Can immediate family members also get permanent UK residence status?||Yes.||Yes.|
|Can Investor and family members get a British passport after 6 years continued UK residence?||Yes.||Yes.|
The next step
Even though VC’s do present an additional layer of “judgement” to the visa process, they do bring a lot of value to the transaction too.
To be considered an endorsement body, these VC’s have to conduct a series of considerations on behalf of the British government. Specifically if the concept is viable for the UK market, it is scalable and most importantly if the plan is innovative.
A major value that the VC’s bring to the party is networking. Having experience in local infrastructure and reputable service providers speeds up the engagement process. Less learning and more doing.
How does Move Up help?
As one business owner to another, I serve to help South Africans navigate the UK visa hurdles. That’s really where business owners can find measurable results.
I can get my fellow Green Mamba passport holders through the UK border (with valid permission to do so).
Under the previous rules, I helped business owners prepare business plans for visa compliance.
With the new system, I find myself helping business owners identify the best applicable VC for the endorsement process. I provide introductions and help manage expectations on both sides.
From there, business owners are given endorsement (after some time) and I then properly step in as visa representative and help facilitate the visa presentation. The way I see it, there is no point in offering representation in these cases until South Africans secure that business endorsement. Hence I help manage the endorsement dealings.