Scale-up Visa Now Available for High-Growth Businesses

High-growth businesses now have a new immigration option available if they need to hire bright people. The Scale-up visa route, available today, enables firms with a Scale-up sponsor license to hire the highly skilled workers they require to support their company’s further expansion.

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Read on to learn the answers to some of the most frequently asked concerns about this new immigration route if you are a business owner who is contemplating including the Scale-up Worker route as part of your overall recruitment strategy (and some other options to consider).

Why Should My Business Think About a Scale-Up Visa?

The Scale-up visa gives firms a more adaptable work visa than the Skilled Worker route and the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker route.

Unlike other sponsored routes, the Scale-up path only requires companies to certify that a candidate will work for them for at least the first six months of their visa. After this time, Scale-up visa holders’ immigration status is independent of the company that sponsored them. It follows that Scale-up employees can work more or differently (including jobs, self-employment, and volunteer work) without needing sponsorship.

Scale-up employees also have the option to settle in the UK after five years based on prior PAYE earnings, continue working without sponsorship after two years, and be joined by or accompanied by a partner and dependant children.

Sponsors of scale-ups are also exempt from the Immigration Skills Charge.

This adaptability should help UK businesses compete more successfully for the highly qualified personnel they require on a global scale.

Can My Company Get a Scale-Up Sponsor License?

Existing UK companies that possess a Scale-up sponsor license issued by the Home Office are eligible to apply for scale-up visas.

If a company satisfies the established definition of a scale-up, which inspections can confirm with HMRC, it will be eligible for a Scale-up sponsor license.

Scale-up companies that qualify need to be registered for VAT and have the following:


A minimum of 10 employees at the beginning of the three-year term and an annual average growth rate in revenue or employment over that time that is larger than 20%.

You can assign a Certificate of Sponsorship once the Home Office has approved your company as an A-rated Scale-up sponsor. Each migrant worker who wants to apply for a Scale-up visa must be given a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), an electronic certificate.

What Conditions Must Be Met for an Employee to Receive a Scale-Up Visa?

A valid Certificate of Sponsorship from an A-rated Scale-up sponsor is required. Still, Scale-up visa applicants also need to meet requirements for skill level, pay, English proficiency, and financial stability.

Scale-up Visa Requirement for Skill Level

The position you offer must be at the graduate level (skilled to at least RFQ level 6).

It is on High-growth par with the skill level under the Global Business Mobility. Senior or Specialist Worker path but lower than the Skilled Worker route. The role must be skilled to at least RFQ level 3 (approximately comparable to A-levels).

The Appendix Skilled Occupations of the Immigration Rules contains a list of eligible professions.

Scale-up visa applicants, like those using other sponsored channels, must persuade. The Home Office that they are being supported to fill a natural position.

Scale-up Visa Requirements for Salary

The wage you intend to pay the Scale-up worker must match or exceed £10.58 per hour, the “going rate” for the position, and £33,000 per year (which is higher than the general salary level of £25,600 per year under the Skilled Worker option).

Each qualified Scale-up Visa occupation’s current “going rate” is listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations.

Salary evaluations are based on guaranteed basic gross pay for work up to 48 hours per week; additional pay or benefits are not permitted.

Figuring out the scale-up Salary Requirement for Visa

Scale-up English language requirement for visa

The candidate for  High-growth a scale-up visa must demonstrate proficiency in English at least at level B1 on the Common European Framework. The Reference for Languages in all four language components (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) (intermediate).

Financial Requirement for Scale-up Visa

Additionally, the Scale-up visa applicant must have cash funds of at least £1,270 on hand that they have had in their possession for at least 28 days straight and that end no more than 31 days before the date of their Scale-up visa application. If you, as the sponsoring company, are willing to attest that you will cover the applicant’s maintenance fees through the end of their first month of employment, these criteria will be satisfied.

How Long Does It Take to Process a Scale-Up Sponsor Licence or Scale-Up Visa Application?

The Home Office High-growth normally takes up to 8 weeks to make a decision on a sponsor license application. A decision is provided in 10 working days with the priority service, which costs £500.

Applications for scale-up visas typically receive a decision within three weeks for individuals outside the UK and within eight weeks for those inside the UK.

What Conditions Must Be Met for a Scale-up Worker to Stay in the UK for a Longer period?

Sponsored Scale-up employees initially receive entry clearance or permission to remain for two years. They will be able to apply to stay on the Scale-up route for an additional three years before their leave expires. In a novel way, Scale-up employees can prolong their stay without requiring sponsorship. Instead, they must show that for at least 50% of their most recent grant of authorization as a Scale-up Worker, they earned PAYE wages in the UK equal to at least £33,000 annually.

What Do Scale-up Workers Need to Do to Reside in the UK?

Your employee must demonstrate to UK Visas and Immigration that they have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years with permission under one of the following categories (alone or in combination): Scale-up, Skilled Worker, Global Talent, Innovator, T2 Minister of Religion, International Sportsperson, Representative of an Overseas Business, or as a Tier 1 Migrant, other than a Tier 1 Migrant (Graduate Entrepreneur).

Additionally, they must have PAYE-paying employment in the UK as of the application date and have earned monthly PAYE wages in the High-growth UK totaling at least £33,000 per year for at least 24 months in the three years immediately before the application date.

The Home Office will take into account guaranteed basic gross income tracked through PAYE in the UK. Other sources of income, such as self-employment and earnings from outside the UK, won’t be taken into account.

Application for indefinite leave to remain on a scale-up visa requires passing the Knowledge of Life in the UK test (unless an exemption applies).

What Additional Immigration Options Should a Business Examine?

There are various UK company immigration paths, including the Scale-up route. Businesses intending to establish themselves in the UK or grow there may want to take into account a number of alternative business immigration routes:

There is the innovator visa for people and founding teams establishing and operating an innovative firm in the UK. Applicants must have a business plan that has been authorized and is “distinct from anything on the market” and has the support of an endorsing body;

Start-up visa

For people starting their first High-growth creative enterprise. Candidates must have a brand-new company concept and have the support of a UK higher education institution or commercial organization;

Employers can hire workers on a skilled worker visa to do a specific job in the UK. A skilled worker must have a job offer in an eligible skilled occupation from a sponsor that has received approval from the Home Office. A global talent visa is an unsponsored option for applicants who are talented and promising in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technology. Arts and culture (including film and television, fashion design, and architecture). A global business mobility visa is a sponsored option for foreign companies that want to temporarily send workers to the UK. The Global Business Mobility route has five options, including the High Potential Individual visa. An unsponsored option for high-potential foreign graduates of prestigious international universities. Candidates must hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from one of the universities on the. Home Office Global Universities List to be eligible.


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