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Tech Nation to endorse new innovator and start-up visas… but not until September 2019


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The government announced on 7 March that two new immigration categories will appear in the Immigration Rules from 29 March 2019 — the innovator and start-up visas.

Since then, immigration lawyers and prospective applicants up and down the land have been eagerly waiting to see who the endorsing bodies will be. (An application for a visa in either category cannot be made until the business idea has been assessed by an approved endorsing body and they have agreed to officially endorse the applicant.)

I was not surprised to discover today that Tech Nation will be one of those endorsing bodies. The technology network is already an endorsing body for applicants applying under the tech arm of the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

But I was a bit flabbergasted to see that, according to their website, Tech Nation won’t be providing any endorsements for anyone applying under the innovator or start-up routes until September 2019. I had to read that date several times. This means that Tech Nation will not be issuing endorsements until some time after applications for visas can be made.

In September 2019, Tech Nation will begin processing endorsement applications on behalf of digital technology entrepreneurs for both of these new routes, building upon our successful operation of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa and extending our support for international entrepreneurs wishing to establish their tech business in the UK.

Surely this is a one-off. Surely we’ll soon start to see a trickle of announcements from other organisations confirming that they are ready and waiting to accept applications for endorsements sooner than September. Surely…

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Nichola Carter

Nichola heads the immigration team at Carter Thomas (www.carterthomas.co.uk). A lawyer with 20 years' experience, she also sits on The Law Society’s Immigration Committee. Nichola's main work relates to advising businesses, universities and schools on sponsor applications and compliance, and individuals seeking to come under the Global Talent, family and other routes . She regularly provides media comment including for the BBC and FT and is happy to be contacted for comment. Nichola tweets from @carternichola and her email is ncarter@carterthomas.co.uk.