With the closure of Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, this route is no longer an option for those seeking to set up or take over a business in the UK. Young entrepreneurs need not be dissuaded, however, as there are a number of options available that will still allow them to open a UK-based business or take over an existing business. While requirements and periods of stay may vary, there are still multiple routes that can be taken, as well as an eventual path towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British Citizenship.

If you would like to apply to the most suitable alternative for your situation, or are currently residing in the UK and would like to extend your stay or switch to another visa, work alongside the experienced and award-winning QC Immigration team. We will make sure that you are pursuing the right application and you have all of the properly submitted documentation that highlights your eligibility.

Alternative routes to the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

There are still a number of routes that can offer stay in the UK to graduate business people following the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route closure.

Start-Up Visa

The Start-Up Visa essentially replaces the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa – offering entrepreneurial business people the opportunity to set up a business in the UK. You can remain in the UK for up to 2 years on this visa, with the option to extend through switching to an Innovator Visa. The Start-Up Visa does not offer a direct path towards permanent residence.

With a maximum of two years of stay – the same as the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa – and similar requirements, this is a comparable alternative for those who would have otherwise pursued the Graduate Entrepreneur route.

Innovator Visa

While this route may not be as applicable for fresh graduates, as it is targeted towards more experienced business owners and industry innovators, it is a suitable option for those currently residing on a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa or who are choosing the alternative Start-Up Visa path. If you have had success running your business, you can switch to the innovator route which does offer a path towards Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Work Visas

Graduates who would have otherwise set up or taken over a business for themselves can still gain access to the UK as workers and work towards setting up a business of their own while residing here. There are many options for skilled graduates who secure UK employment such as the Skilled Worker Visa and the Global Talent Visa. You can then switch to whichever is more appropriate, a Start-Up or Innovator Visa, when you are ready to start or take over a business.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa extensions

As the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is now closed, it is no longer possible to apply for extensions. With that being said, other visa routes are available. With all Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visas ending on April 5th of 2023, the best way to extend your stay may be through switching to an alternative visa option. If you require any assistance, please get in touch and our team can discuss this further with you.

ILR for current graduate entrepreneurs

Graduate entrepreneurs can switch to the 3-year Innovator Visa and from there can work towards obtaining ILR. As well as the visa requirements, those pursuing ILR must meet further requirements such as the Life In The UK Test.

In order to ensure that you are ready to take this step from a migrant residing on a visa to a permanent UK residence, it is important to ensure that you meet all of the requirements. Our team can ensure that you are prepared and eligible to apply for ILR, offering your business more stability.

How QC Immigration can help graduate entrepreneurs

Whether you are looking for an alternative route or you are currently residing on a Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and are looking to extend your stay, our team can help with clear, pragmatic guidance that will help increase the chances of acceptance in your pursued application. We have extensive experience in immigration law and will be able to offer knowledgeable insight into your application.

To get started, contact QC Immigration today. From the initial consultation to careful assistance in putting together a strong application, we can help you increase your chances of gaining access to the UK.


Do other visas cost the same as the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?

Each visa has its own requirements and cost vary, so you will need to check your chosen visa’s costs. You can find more information on Start-Up Visas, Innovator Visas and other relevant visas on our website.

My alternative visa application was rejected, what next?

While it is a time consuming and potentially costly process, the Home Office decision can be appealed. In order for an appeal to be successful, you will need an impressive case that highlights why you meet all visa or visa extension requirements.

Need more information?

Learn more about how we work and support you through the UK Immigration Application Process.

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