on September 20, 2023
A foodtech entrepreneur with a unique plant-based protein start-up approached Cranbrook Legal for help with their Innovator visa application. Their start-up focused on developing sustainable and nutritious plant-based protein products that catered to the growing demand for alternative protein sources.
The client had previously applied for an Innovator visa, which was unfortunately refused. The Home Office cited that there were already a number of businesses in the UK offering the same product as the client’s product, and that this was therefore not innovative, despite the Endorsing Body having issued an endorsement letter.
The client was unsure as to what they could do to overturn the decision. They had read online that they could appeal the decision through a judicial review.
We advised the client that refusals of Innovator visa applications would normally allow an applicant to challenge the decision through an administrative review. In this circumstance, the client would need to show that the caseworker had made an error when considering the application. We further advised that while judicial review was an option, this should only be explored in the event of the administrative review being unsuccessful.
The client was happy to proceed with the administrative review, and we subsequently prepared the application along with grounds which challenged the Home Office refusal points. We particularly focused on the fact that the examples given in the Home Office refusal letter of businesses that were already providing such products in the UK were actually not providing these products, and were in some instances, not even in the same industry.
There was a rather unusually long delay in considering this review; however, the Home Office eventually contacted our client informing him that the review was successful and that a new decision would be made shortly.
After a period of six weeks, the Home Office contacted the client and informed him that a new decision had been made to grant him a visa under the Innovator category. The client was requested to resubmit his passport and an updated TB medical certificate, so that the visa could be issued.
The granting of the Innovator visa meant that the entrepreneur was ultimately able to establish their plant-based protein start-up in the UK.