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Scale-Up Visa

Scale-up visas are intended to complement the other sponsored work immigration routes like Skilled Worker and the new Global Business Mobility routes. Unlike these others though, the Scale-up visa has no Immigration Skills Charge.

The Scale-up visa will require a “high skill” job offer from a UK employer and the minimum salary is set to be £33,000. This is higher than the £25,600 minimum salary requirement to be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa route.

When is the Scale-Up Visa likely to open?

With applications open from 22 August 2022, the Scale-up visa route is intended to facilitate UK Scale-up sponsors in recruiting talented individuals with the skillset to enable Scale-up businesses to continue growing. Dependent partners and children will be able to join applicants on a five-year route to settlement in the UK.

Your eligibility for this visa category

Requirements for a Scale-up Visa – Sponsored Application

In order to qualify for a Scale-up Visa via a Sponsored Application, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are aged 18 or over;
  • You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your UK sponsor for the job you are planning to do;
  • The job you are planning to do is genuine;
  • The job you are planning to do is at an appropriate skill level;
  • Your salary will be equal to or exceed both £33,000 per year, £10.58 per hour and the ‘going rate’ for the job;
  • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0);
  • You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds;
  • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.

Requirements for a Scale-up Visa – Unsponsored Application

In order to qualify for a Scale-up Visa via an Unsponsored Application, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are aged 18 or over;
  • You have previously been granted permission as a Scale-up Worker;
  • You had monthly PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least 50% of your most recent grant of permission as a Scale-up Worker;
  • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0);
  • You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds;
  • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.
  • In either case, the exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

Scale-Up Visa Requirements For Employers

To make use of this fast-track immigration route, employers (fast growing Start-Ups) need to demonstrate that they are a scale-up by showing a growth rate over 20% for either annual average revenue or employment over a three-year period. Firms should have started this period with at least 10 employees. The Government says it will review extending the requirements to also allow companies with an expectation of high growth.

What are the benefits of the Scale-up visa?

The Scale-up visa looks set to be a smoother route for eligible employers and employees than the Skilled Worker visa, mainly as this “fast-track” route appears not to require the time, expense and responsibility of obtaining a sponsor licence and sponsoring someone on this immigration path.

In May 2021, the Home Office published its policy paper, “New plan for immigration: legal migration and border control strategy statement” which first hinted at how this may work. It stated: “in Spring 2022 we will also introduce a new, unsponsored points-based route to attract the brightest and best to the UK, with a particular emphasis placed on the very high skilled and academically elite. Within this route we will create a ‘scale up’ stream that will allow those with a job offer at the required skills level from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa, without the need for sponsorship.”

Is the Scale-up visa extendable and can family members join applicants?

People on a Scale-up visa will be able to change jobs and employers. Their visas should be extendable, so it is likely there will be a route to settlement. More details will be released before the visa starts in the Spring. People who meet the requirements can generally apply for citizenship once they have held indefinite leave to remain for five years.

There has been no announcement yet regarding family members, though similar routes such as the Skilled Worker visa have provisions for spouses, partners and children to accompany the Skilled Worker to the UK.

Providing you with expert immigration advice for the best chance to work as a leader in your field 

With over 8 decades of experience, our Immigration Lawyers and Solicitors have developed a keen awareness of the specific criteria of the Home Office and approved endorsing bodies.

Our specialist legal team has a strong understanding of the requirements of both sponsored and unsponsored via routes, and has worked with a wide range of clients to get their applications approved. We will work tirelessly to tailor your application to meet these demands and get your Scale-Up Visa granted.

The Home Office is notorious for refusing visas for falling short on any aspect of their criteria, or for a perceived lack of clarity. It is, therefore, important to have the best legal advice available.

Get in touch with our team today to find out if you are suitable for the Scale-Up Visa route, which will enable you to live and work in the UK as a leader in your field.

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