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UK Scale Up Visa

The UK Scale Up Visa is aimed at “opening [the UK’s] borders to top talent”. The route will be open to people who have a job offer from a company considered to meet the criteria of the scale-up route.

What are the requirements for the employer?

For a London or wider UK company to be considered a ‘scale-up’ and therefore able to sponsor individuals on this route, it must have experienced annual average growth of over 20% in either revenue or employment over a three-year period and have had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the period. Provided a company meets these criteria they will be able to apply through a fast track verification process to use the route.

Whar are the requirements for the employee?

The proposed route is to form part of the points-based immigration system with job offers required to meet the minimum salary threshold of at least £33,000 while the individual will also need to pass an English language proficiency requirement in order to qualify.

How long can a Scale Up visa holder stay in the UK?

Individuals who are successful in obtaining a visa via the Scale-Up route will be able to extend the visa to a maximum period of five years and the visa will count towards achieving settlement in the UK.

How does the Scale-up visa differ from a Skilled Worker visa?

Both the Scale-up and Skilled Worker visa sit under the UK’s Points-based System for immigration, so to qualify UK visa applicants will need to meet a standardised range of criteria. However, where the Skilled Worker visa prioritises workers with the skills the UK economy needs – in subjects such as healthcare, engineering and computer science – the Scale-up visa is open to all sectors as long as the company sponsoring the application meets the growth criteria.

The “fast-track” Scale-up visa should be preferable to the Skilled Worker route for those eligible mainly as it appears not to require the time, expense and responsibility of obtaining a sponsor licence and sponsoring someone.

When will the Scale Up route open to applicants?

The Government is set to bring in the new immigration pathway in spring 2022 as part of its plan to make the UK a global innovation hub by 2035. They may also wish to explore whether scale-ups who can demonstrate an expectation of strong growth in future years could qualify following a review.

Individuals who obtain a Scale-Up visa will be able to extend their visa and settle in the UK, subject to meeting specific requirements, details of which will be released in 2022.


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