The Isle of Man Innovator Visa
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Innovator visa

The Isle of Man Innovator visa category is designed for individuals who have had prior business experience and are looking to take over one or more or to establish a business in the Isle of Man. Applicants of this category must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea supporting by an endorsing body. You are only allowed to work for the business(es) that you will be establishing.

If you are applying for an Innovator visa for the first time, you must ensure that you have at least £50,000 funds available OR already invested into your business.

Once successful, an applicant will receive a visa which is valid for no more than 3 years. Once the 3 years are over, an applicant may apply for an extension of a further 3 years.

Basic Requirements

The applicant must be at least 18 years old.

Eligibility to apply inside the Isle of Man

You are allowed to make an initial application in the Isle of Man for leave to remain as an Innovator visa holder if you are currently in the Isle of Man with permission to stay as:

  • a Start-up migrant;
  • a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrant; a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant;
  • a Tier 2 migrant;
  • a Tier 4 General student (with restrictions);
  • a visitor who has been undertaking permitted activities as a prospective entrepreneur as set out in Appendix V

Credibility Assessment

For all applications

The Applicant must genuinely intend to undertake, and is capable of undertaking, any work or business activity in the Isle of Man as stated in their application

You must not intend to work in the Isle of Man in breach of your conditions

Any money that you are claiming to be available is genuinely available as described, and that you intend to use it for the purpose described in your application

The decision maker may request additional information from yourself, or your endorsing body, and they can also decide to carry out an interview.

English Language Requirement

There are 4 ways in which you can show you meet the English language requirement. These include:

  1. Being a national of a majority English speaking country; or
  2. Passing an English language test level at level B2 of the CEFR  in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and had taken the test at a Secure English Language Test centre (refer to Gov.UK website for up to date approved test centres) – note that you must achieved the required scores in all relevant component in a single sitting; or
  3. Holding a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or
  4. If you have previously been granted an entry clearance or leave to remain in any of the following categories:
    • Start Up
    • Innovator
    • IoM Worker migrant
    • Tier 1 (General)Tier 1 (Post-Study Work)
    • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) under the rules in place before 13 December 2012 Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
    • Tier 4 (General), supported by a CAS assigned on or after 21 April 2011

Maintenance

In order to qualify for entry clearance or leave to remain under the Innovator visa, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself (and any dependants). The maintenance requirement is detailed below:

You must have at least £945 of personal savings in cash, held for a consecutive 90 days before the date of application;

You may satisfy the maintenance requirement if the endorsing body produces a letter confirming that you have been awarded at least £945 in addition to the £50,000 investment funds. If the main applicant and their partner or children are applying at the same time, there must be enough maintenance funds in total of the required amount

Endorsement

The Department of Enterprise is the responsible endorser for this program. The Department will completely assess the applicant’s business venture(s) against the relevant endorsement criteria and the Department will stay in contact with the endorsee at checkpoints of maximum intervals of 6 months from the date the letter of enforcement is issued.

The Applicant does not need to be the sole founder of the business and may be a member of an entrepreneurial team.

Applicants wishes to apply under this category must be endorsed in this category by the Department for Enterprise.

You are required to submit a valid letter of endorsement issued by the Department as part of your application. The endorsement letter must not be issued more than 3 months before the date of application.

Endorsement Criteria – New Business

To satisfy under this requirement, the Applicant’s business venture must meet all of the requirements below:

  1. That he or she has an original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage;
  2. Has, or is actively developing the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business; and
  3. There is evidence of structured planning and potential for job creation and growth into national market

The Department will need to be satisfied that the Applicant will spend the majority of their working time managing and developing their business day to day in the Isle of Man.

The Applicant’s business plan must also demonstrate that the proposed business expects to employ:

  1. A minimum of 1 full-time, permanent employee in the island, in addition to the employment of the Applicant, within the first 12 months of the period for which the letter of endorsement is issued; and
  2. A minimum of 3 full-time, including the above, permanent employees, in addition to the employment of the Migrant within the first 36 months of the period for which the letter of endorsement is issued.

The job(s) created must comply with all relevant Isle of Man legislation and the job must involve at least 30 hours paid work per week. Two or more part time jobs that add up to 30 hours per week may be combined to represent the equivalent of a single full time job.

Endorsement Criteria – Same Business (switching from Start-Up or Tier 1 Enteprenuer)

If the Applicant wish to rely on endorsement under the same business criteria, the letter of endorsement must confirm all of the following:

  1. The Applicant has shown reasonable progress, judged against the business plan assessed in their previous endorsement.
  2. The Applicant has fully established their business or businesses as outlined in the initial application for a letter of endorsement.
  3. The Applicant’s business or businesses are actively trading hold all necessary registrations, approvals and permissions as required.
  4. The Applicant’s business or businesses are compliant with all obligations to the Isle of Man Government in respect of Income Tax, National Insurance and Value Added Tax, if applicable.
  5. The Applicant’s business or businesses have a realistic prospect of continuing success against the business plan(s) submitted for the letter of endorsement.
  6. The Applicant’s business or businesses employ:
    1. A minimum of 1 full-time, permanent employee in the island, in addition to the employment of the Applicant, within the first 12 months of the period for which the letter of endorsement is issued; and
    2. A minimum of 3 full-time, including the above, permanent employees, in addition to the employment of the Migrant within the first 36 months of the period for which the letter of endorsement is issued.
    3. The job(s) created must comply with all relevant Isle of Man legislation and the job must involve at least 30 hours paid work per week. Two or more part time jobs that add up to 30 hours per week may be combined to represent the equivalent of a single full time job
  1. The Applicant has demonstrated an active key role in the day to day management and development of the business in the Isle of Man.
  2. The Department must be satisfied that the Applicant will spend the majority of their working time managing and developing their business day to day in the Isle of Man.

Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain)

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain under the Innovator visa, you must have:

  1. Sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the United Kingdom; and
  2. Spent a continuous 3 year period under the Innovator visa category; and
  3. Satisfied the endorsement criteria as set out in the letter of endorsement from the Department of Enterprise.

The letter of endorsement must confirm that business venture has met the following requirements:

  1. At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the Migrant’s previous endorsement; and
  2. The business or businesses are actively trading, hold all necessary registrations, approvals and permissions as required; and
  3. The business or businesses are compliant with all obligations to the Isle of Man Government in respect of Income Tax, National Insurance and Value Added Tax, if applicable; and
  4. The business or businesses employ a minimum of 3 full-time, permanent employees in the Island, in addition to the Migrant. Those jobs created must:
    • have existed for at least 12 months and comply with all relevant Isle of Man legislation in effect at the time; and
    • involve an average of at least 30 hours paid work per week. Two or more part time jobs that add up to 30 hours per week may be combined to represent the equivalent of a single full time job; and
  5. The Migrant intends to continue to operate the business or businesses in the Isle of Man.

If the business venture has one or more other team members who are applying for, or have been granted, Indefinite Leave to Remain in the Business Migrant (Innovator) sub-category, they cannot share the same means of meeting these criteria. For example, if two Migrants are both relying on the requirement to have created 3 jobs, 6 jobs must have been created in total

Knowledge of the English language and life in the United Kingdom

The ways in which you can prove that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language is the same as explained above, under section titled “English Language Requirement”. To prove that you have sufficient knowledge of life in the United Kingdom, you must pass a “Life in the UK test” administered by a recognised body.

Continuous 3 year period

Applicants must have spent a continuous 3 year period in the Isle of Man (or UK and Islands) as a holder of the Innovator visa to qualify for settlement. When this 3 year period is counted backwards from depends on when it is most beneficial to the applicant. It may be counted backwards from:

  1. The date of application for indefinite leave to remain; or
  2. The date of decision; or
  3. Any date up to 28 days after the date of application

During this 3 year period, you can only be absent from the Isle of Man (or UK and Islands) for maximum total of 180 days during any consecutive 12 month period.

We at Sincere Immigration have wide knowledge on how to assist you with this application. Get in touch for more information and speak to one of our specialist lawyers: