The Home Office’s newest flagship visa route, the Innovator visa, has attracted just four applicants in its first three months of operation.
By contrast, the visa it replaced — Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) — had 1,900 applications in 2018.
These low numbers will be sure to raise questions surrounding the design of the Innovator route.
The route is aimed at experienced foreign entrepreneurs who have at least £50,000 in capital behind them, and it requires applicants to be endorsed by one of a limited number of business incubators and seed funds.
Many people have seen these requirements as setting the bar far too high, and limiting the amount of people it can realistically attract.
The Home Office, to be fair, has said it expects to grant fewer visas under the new Innovator and Start-up routes than under the schemes they replaced. However, it seems unlikely that this low of an application rate would justify the time and cost it took to come up with these new types of visa routes.
The other new visa type, the Start-up visa, is off to a slightly better start. It attracted 32 entry clearance applications in its first quarter of operation, of which 25 were decided on and 23 granted.
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