In the recently published UK Innovation Strategy, the Home Office announced that two new immigration routes are forthcoming and that it will revitalize the Innovator route.

High-Potential Individual route:

  • This new route will make it easier for high-potential foreign nationals who have graduated from top global universities to enter the U.K. with no job offer.
  • The route will give individuals the ability to work, change jobs and contribute to the U.K. economy, as well as extend their visa to stay in the country.

Scale-up route:

  • This new route will allow foreign nationals with a high-skilled job offer from a designated scale-up business who meet the required salary level to enter the U.K.
  • Businesses are considered scale-ups if they can prove an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a three-year period greater than 20% and have a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the three-year period.

Revitalized Innovator route:

  • Applicants will now only need to show that their business venture is innovative, has a high potential to grow and adds value to the U.K.
  • Applicants will no longer be required to have GBP 50,000 in investment funds to apply through the Innovator route.
  • Applicants that have been accepted on the Global Entrepreneur Program will be automatically eligible for this route.

Background: The U.K. says it is promoting innovation to enhance productivity across its economy and bring jobs, growth and prosperity to the entire country. The U.K. Innovation Strategy outlines how the government will accomplish these goals by bolstering businesses, people, institutions and technologies. More information on the U.K. Innovation Strategy can be found here.

BAL Analysis: The new immigration routes are designed to improve the U.K. immigration system and compete in the global labor market. BAL will continue to monitor the implementation of these routes and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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