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List of Endorsing Bodies for Start Up and Innovator Visas

List of Endorsing Bodies for Start-Up Visa

These are Higher Education Institutions (HEI).

Start-Up list last updated 19th September 2019.

Check and see if your HEI participates in the Start-Up visa programme.


Endorsing BodyNotes
Anglia Ruskin UniversityApplications are welcome from ARU students. We regret non-ARU students cannot be considered.
Arts University BournemouthEndorsing business in the creative arts industries.
Aston UniversityFor those who have completed a course of study at Aston University in the last 5 years and have had a business idea accepted by BSEEN.
Bangor UniversityBangor University only endorses Bangor Graduates on this visa and they must have graduated within 12 months preceding the application.
Bath Spa UniversityBath Spa University will only accept endorsement applications from Bath Spa students and our recent graduates (up to 2 years).
Birmingham City University
Bournemouth UniversityThey support Bournemouth University international alumni start-ups and innovators across the UK, and exceptional UK HEI international graduates looking to start businesses in Wessex.
BPP University LimitedBPP University will only endorse its own graduates in the Start-up route. We will not endorse external candidates or in the Innovator route.
Brunel University LondonBrunel University will only endorse its graduates in the Start-up route. They will not endorse external candidates or in the Innovator route.
Cardiff Metropolitan UniversityInternational Entrepreneurs Programme runs intensively for 6 months from the centre for Entrepreneurship incubator and includes workshops, mentoring, office space and general support. Cardiff Metropolitan University is currently endorsing its own students and graduates only.
Cardiff UniversityCardiff University are only able to consider endorsement requests from our graduate students or any of our students who have completed their studies and are approaching their graduation date
City, University of London
Contemporary Dance Trust
Coventry UniversityOpen to Coventry graduates only.
Cranfield UniversitySupporting entrepreneurs every step of their journey, they accept applications from students and alumni of Cranfield.
De Montfort University
Derby University
Durham UniversityThey provide opportunities for start-up visa endorsement to eligible graduating students and graduates of Durham University.
Edinburgh Napier UniversityProviding opportunities for Start-up Visa endorsement to eligible graduating students and graduates of Edinburgh Napier University.*
Falmouth University School of EntrepreneurshipCreating a unique environment to build sustainable businesses with high growth potential in one of the UK’s leading creative tech hubs.
Florida State University International Programs Assocciiation UKThey accept applications for start-up visa endorsements only from graduates of FSU or US Universities with whom they have existing affiliations.
Girne American University Canterbury
Glasgow Caledonian University
Goldsmiths University of London
Guildhall School of Music & DramaGuildhall Creative Entrepreneurs is an incubator to help people in the performing arts launch and advance their own enterprises. Guildhall School will only endorse graduates from Guildhall School.
Heriot-Watt University
Hult International Business School
Imperial College London
Keele UniversityKeele Business School Smart Innovation Hub, and the Research & Innovation Support Programme will support selected Keele students and alumni.
King’s College LondonThe Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London will support Start-up visas that meet UKVI criteria from current and former King’s students.
Kingston University
Lancaster University
Leeds Arts University
Leeds Beckett University
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
Liverpool John Moores University
London Business SchoolThey accept applications from students and alumni, as well as co-founders working with LBS students or alumni.
London Metropolitan University
London School of Economics and Political SciencesFor LSE students – with the exception of non-LSE applicants who are key members of an LSE team only.
London South Bank UniversityThey can only endorse applicants who have graduated from LSBU within the last 2 years and have not started a business in the UK before.
Loughborough UniversityEndorsing body for Loughborough University graduates.
Manchester Metropolitan University
Middlesex University
Newcastle UniversityThey will only endorse graduates from Newcastle University. They will consider applications from graduating students and recent graduates (up to 3 years).
Northern School of Contemporary Dance
Norwich University of the Arts
Nottingham Trent UniversityThey are only open to students and recent graduates of Nottingham Trent University (within the immediate 2 years preceding date of application).
Oxford Brookes University
Plymouth College of ArtPlymouth College of Art welcomes endorsement applications from graduates and alumni of the college.
Queen Mary University of LondonOpen to Queen Mary University of London graduates only
Queen’s University BelfastThey only accept applications for endorsement from Queen’s graduates and applicants must have completed a degree within the last 12 months.
Ravensbourne University London
Regent’s University London
The Robert Gordon University
Roehampton University
Royal Academy of Music
Royal Agricultural University
The Royal Central School of Speech and DramaCentral will only accept endorsement applications from their current students and our alumni (within 2 years of completing studies).
Royal College of Art
Royal Holloway and Bedford New College
Sheffield Hallam University
SOAS, University of London
Solent University
Swansea University
Teesside University
University College LondonThey will only consider applicants who have graduated from UCL in the last 12 months.
University for the Creative Arts
University of Aberdeen
University of the Arts LondonUniversity of the Arts London offers endorsement exclusively to UAL graduates within 2 years of graduating. The scheme is delivered by careers and employability.
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of Bradford
University of Brighton
University of BristolThe University of Bristol will consider endorsing their students for Start-up following a rigorous application process.
The University of Buckingham
University of CambridgeThey consider endorsement for those who are graduating or have graduated from the University of Cambridge.
University of Central Lancashire
University of ChesterThey will only endorse start-up applications from Chester students who graduate in the same academic year and who possess an outstanding, genuine and credible business idea in line with the university’s criteria.
University of Dundee
University of East Anglia
University of East LondonThey only accept applications from UEL Students or Graduates. Our programme is competitive with limited endorsements therefore align your application to the criteria.
The University of EdinburghThe University of Edinburgh endorses Start-up applicants who have a close demonstrable relationship with our institution (students and alumni).
University of Essex
University of ExeterThey will only consider endorsements for students and graduates of the university who engaged with entrepreneurship activity during their studies.
University of Glasgow
University of GreenwichEndorsements allocated via the annual Enterprise Challenge, run by the university’s i3 Centre. Open to graduates of the university only.
University of Hertfordshire Higher Education CorporationThey only accept endorsement applications from their current students and their alumni (within one year of completing studies).
University of Huddersfield
University of Hull
University of Kent
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
University of Lincoln
University of LiverpoolThey will only endorse students who graduate from the University of Liverpool within the same academic year.
University of ManchesterOnly graduates of the University of Manchester will be considered for endorsement.
The University of Northampton
University of Northumbria at Newcastle
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford
University of Plymouth
University of PortsmouthTo apply for endorsement applicants must be students or graduates (up to 5 years) from the University of Portsmouth.
University of Reading
The University of Salford
University of SheffieldEndorsement only available to those who have or will have graduated from the University of Sheffield.
University of South WalesThey will only consider endorsement for those who are graduating or have graduated from the University of South Wales or RWCMD within the last 12 months.
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
University of Stirling
University of Strathclyde
University of SunderlandTheir Enterprise Place offers start up support, 1-1 business advice, structured workshops and networking opportunities for their alumni.
University of SurreyExternal start-ups must meet SETsquared Surrey incubator criteria and adhere to the incubator membership for the endorsement duration.
University of Sussex
University of the West of EnglandTheir Launch Space provides physical incubator space and enterprise support for graduate start-up businesses at UWE.
University of the West of ScotlandThey will endorse current students or recent graduates who demonstrate an innovative business idea and entrepreneurial mind-set.
The University of West London
University of Ulster
University of Wales Trinity Saint David – Carmarthen Campus
University of WarwickThey will consider applications from Warwick graduates with a viable business idea that they wish to start in the UK.
University of Westminster
University of Wolverhampton
University of York
Unseen University
York St John University


List of Endorsing Bodies for Innovator Visa

Innovator list last updated 19th September 2019.

Innovator list last updated 14th June 2019.
Innovator list last updated 12th May 2019.

Check for an Innovator Endorsing Body

Endorsing BodyNotes
The BakeryThe Bakery endorses bona-fide entrepreneurs who qualify for our corporate innovation programmes.
Bethnal Green VenturesBGV is an early stage investor in tech for good companies who only endorse start-up entrepreneurs accepted onto their support programme
Blue OrchidBlue Orchid will only endorse high growth start-ups who are working within their client base across England’s North West and West Midlands.
Capital enterpriseCapital Enterprise will only be endorsing founders within their community.
CyLonCyLon is interested in hearing from emerging cyber security companies or entrepreneurs planning on setting up an innovative cyber start-up.
Deep Science VenturesApply if you are a scientist or engineer determined to start a deep science company.
DRS Business SolutionsDRS will only consider applications for endorsement from those individuals who they are working with in their client base.
Emsworth Corporate Planning (ECP)They support genuine global entrepreneurs who are looking to build dynamic, disruptive and fast growing business here in the UK.
First Corporate FinanceThey offer an open invitation to entrepreneurs worldwide with innovative business ideas to register in their Business Support Program, with future potential endorsement.
Fortunis Capital LtdFortunis Capital works with motivated individuals and teams who have innovative and scalable proposals that aim to have a positive impact on wider society. They actively manage their entire portfolio.
Founders FactoryFounders Factory is an award-winning tech startup accelerator and incubator. They endorse entrepreneurs joining one of their programmes.
IgniteThey only endorse applicants who are successful in applying for one of their accelerator programmes.
Innovate BritainInnovate Britain focus on vital enterprise sectors including Education, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Consumer and Infrastructure.
Invest Northern IrelandInvest NI endorses entities for Start-up/Innovator Visas via participation on its Accelerator Program or requests from Client companies only.
KolliderKollider is a high growth business incubator. They endorse members with innovative ideas in the creative, digital and tech sectors expected to scale in their markets within 24 months.
Level39Level39 only endorses those involved in FinTech, cyber security, smart cities, retail tech and other globally ambitious tech business.
MDR LABMDR LAB is an accelerator for tech start-ups in the legal space. They only endorse migrants accepted onto their 10-week May-July programme.
MedCityMedCity supports collaboration, investment, entrepreneurship and industry within the life sciences across Greater South-East of England.
NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator
The Royal Society of EdinburghThe Royal Society of Edinburgh only provide endorsement to their awardees who have received an RSE Enterprise Fellowship. They cannot support any individual who does not fall under this category.
RBS Entrepreneur Accelerator
Scottish EDGEScottish EDGE can endorse winners of its bi-annual funding competition for innovative, high-growth potential Scottish businesses. Approx. 6% of applicants win.
SeedcampSeedcamp invest early in world-class founders attacking large, global markets and solving real problems using technology.
SeedHausSeedHaus do not accept unsolicited applications for endorsements.
SETsquared BristolSETsquared Bristol is not currently accepting external or speculative applications for Innovator through endorsement.
Startup Funding ClubStartup Funding Club invests in early stage ventures from across all sectors, leading their first funding round, supporting growth and taking them to the next stage.
Tech NationTech Nation focuses on entrepreneurs of product-led digital technology businesses and are developing an initiative to identify and support Tech Nation applicants. They aim to begin endorsing applications by April 2020 or sooner if possible.
TechstarsTechstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. They can only endorse Techstars backed Founders and other individuals from the Network.
Tech XTech X is a unique tech accelerator and incubator for global start-ups looking to transform the energy sector – offers unparalleled funding and support.
The Royal Society of EdinburghWe only provide endorsement to our awardees who have received an RSE Enterprise Fellowship. Unfortunately we cannot support any individual who does not fall under this category.
Ulster Bank Entrepreneur Accelerator
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Oct 2018 – New Process for Work or Study Visas

UKVI awards service contract to Sopra Steria

UKVI awards service contract to Sopra Steria for October 2018. Sopra Steria to streamline Work and Study Visas.

According to gov.uk, Sopra Steria, an IT and business consultancy, has been awarded a new UKVI contract to streamline applications for Work or Study Visas.

Sopra Steria will create 60 location across the UK for applicants to submit their applications, giving them more places to book appointments (it appears most of these locations will be existing libraries as Sopra Steria will be working in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians).

People booking their appointments at these new locations will be able to submit biometric information (photos, fingerprints and signatures) and supporting documentation in one meeting.

Additionally, applicants will be able to take their original documentation home with them because a copy is made and sent directly to UKVI.

An option will exist to allow people to upload their own files in advance of their appointment but no details are currently available on how this would work in practice.

This new service is anticipated for launch in October later this year.

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Passport Prices Rise on the 27th March 2018

UK Flag ThumbprintGetting a new passport is about to cost more from Tuesday 27th March 2018 and the price increases vary depending if you’re applying online or offline (by post) but there’s a way to avoid the price increase altogether if you’re due to renew your passport before the end of the year.

How are Prices Changing?

The increases are a uniform £3 per application online and £12.50 per application offline.

Current CostPassport TypeNew CostIncrease
£72.50Adult – Online£75.50£3.00
£46.00Child – Online£49.00£3.00
£72.50Adult – Postal£85.00£12.50
£46.00Child – Postal£58.50£12.50

The Premium one-day service price will be increasing from £128 to £177, an increase of £49 whilst the Fast-track one-week service will increase from £103 to £142, an increase of £39.

How to Beat the Passport Price Rise

A little known fact when applying for a new passport is that any existing time on your old passport will be added to your new passport up to a maximum period of 9 months.

This means that should your passport expire on the 26th of December, you’ll be able to apply now, pay the existing pricing and lose very little time on your existing passport but you’ll need to act quickly as there’s just under a week before these prices come into effect.

Why Are Passport Prices Rising?

According to the Minister of State for Immigration, these price increases are necessary to maintain a secure, effective and efficient service.

Apply Online Now

The cheapest way will be to apply for your passport online at the government website. This will be the quickest and cheapest way to do it.

Naturally you can apply via a company like ours but the process is so simple you’d be paying extra fees for something you can easily do yourself.

A full list of price changes (this links directly to the PDF file) is available from the UK government website but watch out, the pricing information is buried under a lot of text.

Do you have Indefinite Leave to Remain?

A lot of people assume you can apply for a British passport as soon as you have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), unfortunately, this isn’t the case. You must apply for British Citizenship first. This has a more complicated set of requirements and if you would like to discuss this with us, please contact us or arrange a free consultation (you can do this directly through our website).

Once you have British Citizenship, you can then apply for a British passport. Unfortunately at the time of writing this article, there won’t be time to apply for British Citizenship before the 27th of March price increases.

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Tier 2 Minimum Salary Thresholds

Tier 2 Financial Requirements

There are new tier 2 minimum salary thresholds for non-EEA nationals as workers in the UK. Non-EEA nationals applying for Tier 2 are subject to the requirement that the salary they earn in the UK must be above a minimum threshold, as part of government policy to avoid undercutting wage markets by using low-paid immigrant labour. This threshold has been announced to be raised in 2 steps to £25,000 in Autumn 2016 and to £30,000 in April 2017 for experienced workers, with the minimum threshold for new entrants into the workforce staying at 20,800. ­These requirements make it more difficult for non-EEA migrants to the UK to obtain Tier 2 visas as they will need to be earning significantly more than the UK national average annual income of around £26,000.

These changes are based on the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations of the 19th of January, which focuses on the government’s policy aims of reducing total immigration into the UK, and of controlling labour markets to regulate whether UK and EEA nationals or non EEA nationals have access to employment opportunities. Due to EU legal obligations, the UK must allow the free passage of EEA nationals into the state, and allow for their exercise of residence rights. This means that only the entering into the UK and continued residence in the UK of non-EEA nationals can validly be regulated, resulting in this tightening of restrictions regarding who can reside and settle in the UK. ­

Employers are dis-incentivised to hire non-EEA nationals as, excluding for ­certain professions, they have to conduct a ‘resident labour market test’ before offering a job to a non-EEA national. This resident labour market test is the advertising of a job to local applicants and hiring any local applicant who has all of the required skills and experience to undertake the position before offering the job to a non EEA national. The job should be advertised in two appropriate places, including usually Jobcentre Plus, and a newspaper or website, and only if the test produces the result that there is no local suitably-skilled individual who can take the job may the employer opt to hire a non EEA employee.

Certain professions are exempt from this, including nurses and professions on the UK National Shortage Occupation list. Non-EEA recent graduates can also still be hired by UK companies without the need for a resident labour market test. ­

In pursuit of the government’s desire to ‘simplify and streamline’ applications the Tier 2 visa category of Intra-Company Transfers will be unified so that the subcategories of Short- and Long-term Staff and Skills Transfers are integrated into the category ‘Intra-Company Transfers’. The ICT category will retain the subcategory of Graduate Trainees. ­09

In pursuit of the same policy aims the policy change additionally includes adding a 1000GBP certificate of sponsorship to be paid by the employer annually for each non-EEA national worker, or 364GBP for small or charitable sponsors. Certain groups will be exempt from this, namely Intra Company Transfer Graduate Trainees, and PhD level occupations, as well as non-EEA nationals who were on a Tier 4 student visa and have switched to a Tier 2 visa after completing their course of study.

The policy changes will come in in steps, with the first set of changes being made in Autumn 2016, and transitional phases ending in April 2017 to allow for employers and individuals to plan to accommodate them. The table below is an aid to explanation of the different effects of policy implementation to different categories of applicant.


Visa categoryCurrentlyAutumn 2016April 2017
Tier 2 (General): Experienced WorkersLower threshold boundary for experienced non-EEA nationals entering the UK work force is raised to £25,000.Lower threshold boundary for experienced non-EEA nationals entering the UK work force is raised to £30,000.
Tier 2 (General): New entrants into the workforceThe lower threshold boundary salary is £20,800, and no changes are scheduled to be made to it.No changes.
Tier 2 (General): who switched from Tier 4 (Student)12 month grace period between finishing course of education and finding employment in their field. Employers can employ recent graduates from UK universities without carrying out a resident labour market test.No changes. There will be an exemption from the Immigration Skills Charge.
Tier 2 (ICT): Skills TransferAn employee may acquire this visa if they are being transferred within a company in order to receive of impart specialist skills from overseas. Individuals in this subcategory don’t have a minimum employment period to qualify.This subcategory will be removed, and will close to new applicants who will apply under the streamlined category of ICT.
Tier 2 (ICT): Short TermA subcategory of ICT which can be acquired if you have been working at a company for at least 1 year prior to being transferred briefly to fill a skilled position in the organization in the UK which cannot be filled by a local worker.The lower income threshold for the Short Term category will raise to £30,000, and the category will be phased out. ­This subcategory will be removed by the end of the transitional period ending April 2017, and will be closed to new applicants who will apply under the streamlined category of ICT.
Tier 2 (ICT): Graduate TraineeRecent graduates who are transferred to the UK section of the organisation you work in for the purpose of training, for short term posts only, and only through a structured graduate training programme towards a specialist or managerial role. Employees don’t need to conduct resident labour market tests before employing this category of visa-holders. ­Remains a subcategory of the otherwise streamlined intra-company transferee visa category. ­This group is given extra weighting in applications for Tier 2 visas, and graduates of the trainee programs will be able to switch roles in the organisation after their training programme. Employers of this category of workers are exempt from paying the Immigration Skills Charge.Lower threshold salary boundary is to be lowered from £24,800 to £23,000, and each company will be able to bring an increased number of 20 graduate trainees to the UK. ­­

This group is given extra weighting in Tier 2 applications where the granting of the visa helps bring high-value business to the UK or potentially supports an inward investment.


Tier 2 (ICT): post- autumn 2016Category is in subcategories of Graduate Trainee, Short-term Staff, Long-term Staff, and Skills Transfer (as above).The category will be streamlined, with all employees on intra-company transfers requiring the same visa. The uniform minimum salary threshold for this group will be £41,500, which is significantly higher than subgroups’ individual thresholds, and means only high-salary employees such as specialists and managers will be given access with this visa. The one category exempt from streamlining is the Graduate Trainee programme category.

All ICT employees will be obliged to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Within the ICT category the minimum salary threshold for ICT employees working in the UK for 5-9 years will be reduced to £120,000 from £155,300, and the 1 year of required experience for applications with salary over £73,900 will be removed.
Tier 2 (General): All non-EEA workers with exemptionsBy the end of this transitional period the Immigration Skills Charge will have been introduced, charging employers £1,000 per Certificate of Sponsorship annually, or £364 for small and charitable sponsors (defined in Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations).
Dependents of Tier 2 migrantsThere will be no change to the work rights of individuals in this category


For further advice in connection with requirements for applications for Tier 2 visas, or other routes to residence and settlement, please contact our immigration advisors in Glasgow on 07788882290 or via our online enquiry form.

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Certified ‘clearly unfounded’ human rights immigration claims

The Immigration Act 2014 which came into force in April 2015 changed the rights of appeal of applicants refused a visa due to their protection claim being certified ‘clearly unfounded’ by the Home Office. While the threshold test of the grounds of an application for immigration being ‘clearly unfounded’ is high, the Home Office demonstrates its willingness to give certificates stating a claim is so, and refusing entry to applicants whose applications didn’t meet the standard of proof they require.

Guidelines on Certification of Protection and Human Rights are under Section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (clearly unfounded claims) and they set out the methods the Home Office should use in order to determine whether a protection claim is founded or not. The screening of claims is done by the Home Office with the aims as stated in the guidelines to ‘protect the integrity of the immigration system and deter unfounded claims’ through preventing appeals delaying removal from the UK, reducing the number of such claims they need to process, and saving money, where ‘protection and human rights claims are clearly unfounded’.

The vagueness of this ‘clearly unfounded’ test can make applying to the Home Office on grounds of needing permit to remain in or enter the UK for reasons of protection and human rights look exceedingly complex to would-be applicants. Applications where there is little or no substance to the claim, or where the evidence looks to be falsified, should expect to be certified ‘clearly unfounded’ and rejected. Applications in the category of Protection and Human Rights claims should be very carefully constructed to ensure that the relevant evidence is presented correctly and substantially to the Home Office, to remove reason for rejection of the claim.

The removal of the right to appeal for failed claims in the Protection and Human Rights category has since April 2015 meant that people who have overstayed their visas and wish to reapply via this route would risk removal from the UK if the claim fails, and applicants from outside the UK wouldn’t be granted entry. This means that the importance of the claim being accepted initially as having sufficient evidence and not being ‘clearly unfounded’ is very high, as remedies once a claim has been certified by the Home Office as so are very limited.

Applicants could seek a remedy in the UK only through judicial review of the certification decision, or could apply again from outside the country- an option which can be very dangerous for people at risk of being subjected to violence, imprisonment, or human rights abuses on returning to the country they seek to leave.

Common reasons that the Home Office often reject and certify Protection claims include claims based on a lack of employment options, unconfirmed medical conditions, lack of evidence regarding continuing study or work in the UK, the applicant being an adult without exceptional circumstances who could relocate without very significant obstacles, there being no evidence of the child the claim is based on, there being no child-parent relationship or the child being 18 or over, the child not having residency rights in the UK, relationships (of the type of marriages and civil partnerships) which aren’t substantial or durable, or which could be relocated without any exceptional circumstances. Claims based around the existence of a child or partner need to pay particular attention to fulfilling the evidentiary requirements of the Home Office so as to avoid being certified ‘clearly unfounded’.


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