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Author: Nilmini Roelens

UK INNOVATION STRATEGY was "unleashed" at the end of last week promising the new High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes, and to "revitalise" the Innovator route to attract and retain high-skilled, globally mobile innovation talent.

The prologue notes that we have left the EU and that "we have experienced the largest economic disruption since the Second World War". It recognises competition in the innovation race and the transformational technologies that AI presents as forming the impetus for the need for renewed vigour to enable the UK to relaunch itself.

The four pillars in creating the future are:

• Pillar 1: Unleashing Business

• Pillar 2: People

• Pillar 3: Institutions & Places

• Pillar 4: Missions & Technologies

The People pillar, "We will make the UK the most exciting place for innovation talent" lacks detail yet but one gathers the following:

THE HIGH POTENTIAL INDIVIDUAL route: aims "to make it as simple as possible for internationally mobile individuals who demonstrate high potential to come to the UK. Eligibility will be open to applicants who have graduated from a top global university. The UK government will explore the scope to expand eligibility to other characteristics of high potential. There will be no job offer requirement, giving individuals the flexibility to work, switch jobs or employers and make contributions to the UK economy. The route will also allow eligible individuals to extend their visa and settle in the UK, subject to meeting specific requirements".

THE SCALE UP route: "will also support UK scale-ups by allowing talented individuals with a high skilled job offer from a qualifying scale-up at the required salary level to come to the UK. Scaleups will be able to apply through a fast-track verification process to use the route, so long as they can demonstrate an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a threeyear period greater than 20%, and a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the three-year period. UK Government will explore whether scale-ups who can demonstrate an expectation of strong growth in future years may also qualify following a review. The route will allow eligible individuals to work, switch jobs or employers. Individuals will be able to extend their visa and settle in the UK, subject to meeting specific requirements."

A REVITALISED INNOVATOR route may be the best news so far, as the intentions include much needed changes to the existing route: Simplifying and streamlining the business eligibility criteria, exploring a fast-track, lighter touch endorsement process, and building flexibility by no longer be requiring applicants to have at least £50,000.

The new Global Business Mobility visa will also allow overseas businesses and innovative companies greater flexibility in transferring workers to the UK.

Worth watching this space...

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