The UK’s Innovator Founder visa was launched in 2023 as a pathway for foreign entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the UK. The visa and its requirements have substantially changed from its predecessor, the Innovator visa and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur scheme   If you are considering the UK’s Innovator Founder visa, then it is sensible to make a full evaluation. As a former migrant entrepreneur and business consultant working with people navigating the business immigration journey, I will seek to highlight the pros and cons of this visa.  Innovator Founder Visa Pros  Suitable for scalable businesses  The Innovator Founder visa requirements emphasize scalability. As such, if your business is scalable, or is already at traction stage, then this visa may be suitable.  Pathway to permanent residence & UK citizenship This visa offers two pathways for settlement (permanent residence) in the UK: three years or five years.   In comparison to other countries such as the UAE, this may be a desirable aspect for some.   The UK’s global position The UK is among the easiest countries in the world to start a business in.   Although due to recent legislation by the Companies House, there are now additional requirements and compliance protocols for setting up a company in the UK.   The multicultural landscape of the UK, as well as English being the spoken language may be an advantage to some international entrepreneurs.   Secondary employment The current Innovator Founder visa permits paid employment alongside the applicant’s business. This may be a beneficial option for some international founders. Innovator Founder Visa Cons  Strict business & endorsement requirements The selection process for the Innovator Founder visa which is through an endorsement from one of the four designated Endorsing Bodies is strict.   There are several requirements that your business must meet, as well as the founder/founding team meeting a certain skills level.   Less Endorsing Bodies There are now only 4 endorsing bodies in contrast to 65 under the previous Innovator visa pathway. This leaves applicants with less choice and a lower margin of error.   Personally, I support the view that a larger selection of Endorsing Bodies will facilitate additional sector-specific expertise.   May be expensive for some There are several costs involved, and these exclude any additional help from third parties such as a business consultant (me) or an immigration advisor/solicitor.   Minimum budget required: £5000 to £10,000 (this does not include the funds for your business). The initial costs are: Endorsement: £1200 Visa Application Fee: £1,191 (outside the UK) or £1486 (inside the UK) NHS Health Surcharge: ££1,035 per year To help my clients/ Innovator Founder visa applicants, I offer an idea assessment service. This will involve assessing your idea and the provision of expert feedback to reduce the chances of your endorsement being rejected.   Economic uncertainty Global events such as the 2008 Financial Crisis, Brexit and COVID-19 have left a painful mark on the UK’s economy.   This is evident in several contexts such as the Cost-of-Living Crisis.  Additionally, with the 2025 General Election coming up, it is reasonable to expect dramatic policy shifts, indicating economic uncertainty. These are some of the pros and cons of the Innovator Founder visa. Need help with the Innovator Founder visa endorsement? Check out my services, designed specifically for founders like you. About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I did so by obtaining an endorsement from Newcastle University under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. Subsequently, I obtained a further 3-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (replaced by the Innovator Founder Visa). I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four, and also obtained my Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) in the UK. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs, such as myself, with their businesses. Disclaimer: none of the content in this article or my services constitutes immigration advice or services.