Tier 1 is the category for "High value migrants" such as entrepreneurs and investors. It is the only tier of the Points-based system for which you do not always need to be "sponsored" by an employer or education provider. There are numerous categories under Tier 1. GCU are an endorsing body under the Tier 1 Start-up route.

Tier 1 Start-up visa:

The Tier 1 Start-up visa, launched in April 2019, replaced the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa and is suitable for people who want to start a business in UK. Further details on eligibility can be found available on the gov.uk website.

The new route has replaced a visa route which was exclusively for graduates, opening it up to a wider pool of talented budding entrepreneurs.

It requires applicants to have acquired an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor. GCU is an endorsing body, and we accept applications for endorsement from current GCU students, and graduates. Note - If you are not a GCU student/graduate, we may be able to accept your application under certain circumstances if it is referred to us through our recognised partner - Please contact the VISA Team for more inforrmation. 

For information and enquiries regarding the GCU endorsement application process, please email visa@gcu.ac.uk. An Advisor will contact you to assess your eligibility, and provide initial advice.

All of our successful applicants are assigned a designated UHatch mentor to help their business grow and flourish. UHatch offer discounted office space to endorsed applicants, as well as access to funding opportunities, and continued professional business support. 

Coronavirus information:

In March 2020, the government released new guidance for endorsing bodies under the Tier 1 Start-up route in light of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The VISA Team have reviewed this guidance and are on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Due to travel restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic, some individuals may be unable to arrange visa appointments or travel to the UK. Due to the economic impacts, some individuals may experience difficulties fulfilling their business plans and maintaining contact with their endorsing body (GCU). The VISA Team is here to support both students going through the endorsement application process, and endorsed individuals throughout this time. 

In line with the new guidance, GCU will continue to accept endorsement applications, but a VISA Advisor will discuss your circumstances and ability to travel and/or work on your business, based on the current global situation at the time of your application.

If you are an endorsed individual and have any questions relating to your Tier 1 Start-up checkpoint, business progression, or visa issues relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) please contact visa@gcu.ac.uk and an Advisor will be happy to assist. 

For more detailed information, please see the information below: 

 

Introduction:

In March 2020, the government released new guidance for endorsing bodies under the Tier 1 Start-up route in light of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The VISA Team have reviewed this guidance and have provided information below on how the changes may impact you, depending on the stage of your endorsement application. If you have any questions, please contact visa@gcu.ac.uk

Tier 1: Information for applicants and endorsed individuals:

Due to travel restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic, GCU understands some of our applicants and endorsed individuals may be unable to arrange visa appointments or travel to the UK. Due to the economic impacts, you may also experience difficulties fulfilling your business plans and maintaining contact with us, if you are already endorsed by GCU.

  • Individuals who have not yet been endorsed:

GCU may still issue endorsements, but the VISA Team will be in touch with you if you have an application in progress to discuss whether you are able to make a visa application, and to consider current travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The VISA Team will also discuss with you whether you are likely to be able to start developing your business in the UK under the current situation. If not, The VISA Team will delay your endorsement until a later date as required.

  • Individuals who have been endorsed but have not yet applied for a visa:

Endorsement letters are valid for 3 months. If you have been endorsed but are unable to make a visa application within this timeframe, please contact The VISA Team who will issue you with a new endorsement (using a new secure reference number) before you apply.

Individuals who have applied for a visa but are unable to travel:

Please contact the VISA Team if you are in this situation, who will contact the Home Office directly to inform them of your case, and refer to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) immigration guidance on gov.uk for the latest information.

  • Individuals who are due to have a checkpoint with their endorsing body:

GCU will maintain contact checkpoints with endorsed individuals wherever possible. It is not necessary for these to be face-to face and we will arrange checkpoints via telephone or video conference. Please ensure you are maintaining contact with your Tier 1 mentor. If you have concerns regarding this, please contact visa@gcu.ac.uk.

All Tier 1 Start-up applicants and endorsed individuals have GCU’s full support throughout this time, and we will make allowances for the current situation when considering your progress against your business plans, and, where possible, discuss future contingencies. GCU must notify The Home Office if you miss a checkpoint without prior agreement, so it is important you let your mentor and the VISA Team know as soon as possible if you cannot make a checkpoint for any reason.

  • Individuals who need to apply to extend their stay:

GCU will continue to issue endorsements as normal to individuals who are in the UK, whose visas are expiring, and who wishes to apply to switch into the Start-up category. Please contact visa@gcu.ac.uk if this applies to you.  You should also refer to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) immigration guidance on gov.uk for the latest information.

 

 

Switching from Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

You may be able to switch into the new Start-up route if you have not yet had the maximum 2 grants of leave under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route. If your Start-up endorsement is from the same endorsing body (GCU) your business idea will not need to meet the new Start-up criteria in relation to innovation and scalability.

Post-Study Work 

If you wish to remain in the UK and seek work after your studies, then you will find the options on the UK Government work visa website, including seeking work with a Tier 2 sponsor. If you are a PhD student, you may also be eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme.