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Today, Techstars London has been approved as a Recognised Seed Competition in the UK; which combined with the Techstars total investment of £75k ($118k) effectively provides entrepreneurs sufficient points to qualify for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa.  Techstars London’s newly approved status will allow Techstars to offer any team from anywhere in the world a place on a Techstars programme and continued support locally after the programme.

The approval will allow Techstars London teams from outside of the EU, to work in the UK for up to 3 years and towards the end of this period, can apply to extend their stay by a further 2 years if they want to continue living here.  Furthermore teams, after 3 years have the right to apply for permission to settle in the UK if their business has created at least 10 new full-time jobs in the UK.  Partners and children of the teams can also apply for settlement.

The UK’s progressive approach to immigration for startups and entrepreneurs provides Techstars London the certainty required to accept teams from outside of the EU; knowing that Techstars can continue to support them beyond the 13 weeks of the accelerator programme in the UK.  Combined with tax incentives for both investors and entrepreneurs, the UK is becoming a real alternative for ambitious entrepreneurs from around the world while the US debates with its immigration policies.

Immigration policy and its impact upon the location of a startup when it is seed funded has an increasingly massive influence upon how and where the startup evolves.  An excellent example of this is GrabCAD from Estonia which participated Techstars Boston in 2011.  GrabCAD’s initial seed round in Estonia was less than 2% of the total $15m funds raised, yet 40% of their employees are based in Estonia.  Another example of this is the massively successful Huddle, who are one of the original members of TechCity community in London.  To date, Huddle have raised a total of $40m, of which 10% was raised locally in their seed and A rounds – yet today 75% of their employees are based in London.

If you are team from outside of the US and want to participate in Techstars’s awesome mentor led programme, don’t hesitate, apply to Techstars London today.

Jon Bradford