Overview of the Scale-Up Visa
The UK Scale-Up visa is a part of the UK government’s post-Brexit immigration plan and is introduced alongside other visas. Such as the Senior or Specialist Worker visa and the High Potential Individual visa.
This visa is primarily designed for foreign workers possessing the skills and abilities to support rapidly growing scale-up businesses in the UK. These businesses act as sponsors, facilitating the entry of skilled foreign workers into the UK. The Scale-Up visa offers a five-year pathway that can lead to permanent settlement in the UK, and it allows visa holders to bring their family members, including spouses and dependent children.
How Does the Visa Work?
The Scale-Up visa consists of two distinct stages:
Stage 1 (Two Years)
In the first stage, which spans two years, applicants must secure a job offer from an eligible UK Scale-Up sponsor. This job offer must meet specific sponsorship, skill level, and salary requirements. Candidates must also meet financial and language proficiency criteria.
During the initial six months of this stage, Scale-Up workers can switch between different sponsored roles in different companies. After the initial six months, Scale-Up workers may undertake various forms of work. This includes self-employment or voluntary work, except for roles as professional sportspersons or coaches.
Stage 2 (Three Years)
The second stage, lasting three years, permits existing Scale-Up workers to remain and work in the UK without requiring employer sponsorship.
Visa holders must demonstrate that they earned a guaranteed basic gross salary equivalent to at least £33,000 per annum. This during the first two years of their visa.
Moreover, this requirement is a key factor for eligibility for settlement.
Upon completing the five-year period, Scale-Up workers may become eligible to apply for settlement in the UK if they meet all the relevant criteria.
Who Can Apply for a Scale-Up Visa?
To be eligible for a Scale-Up visa, candidates must meet the following criteria:
Certificate of Sponsorship Requirements
The Scale-Up visa requires a certificate of sponsorship issued by an eligible business. This allows the Scale-Up worker to enter the UK and commence work under the visa. Only businesses with an A-rated status on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors can issue certificates of sponsorship for the Scale-Up visa.
Additionally, businesses must show an annual growth of at least 20% in the previous three years in terms of overall turnover or staffing. They should also have had a minimum of 10 employees at the beginning of the three-year period.
Once a business obtains an A-rated sponsorship license, it can sponsor visa candidates for up to six months in an occupation that is at least level 6 or higher on the Registered Qualifications Framework (RQF). The role must also meet the minimum salary requirements, which are at least £34,600 and exceed the ‘going rate’ for the job.
The certificate of sponsorship should not be issued more than three months before the candidate’s application date for the Scale-Up visa. Key information on the certificate includes the candidate’s details, job, salary, expected duration of employment, and confirmation that the certificate has not been used in a prior application.
Furthermore, candidates must demonstrate that they intend to undertake only the proposed role and not engage in any additional employment while in the UK.
Jobs offered by business sponsors must fulfill specific requirements to be eligible for the Scale-Up visa scheme. The job must be genuine, and the Home Office should have no reason to believe it is fraudulent or created solely for the purpose of obtaining a Scale-Up visa.
Moreover, the visa holder should not enter into arrangements to fill positions, perform contract work, or provide routine services to third parties not mentioned on the certificate of sponsorship.
Furthermore, the job must also meet the minimum skill level for the Scale-Up visa, which is at least RQF level 6 or higher. Moreover, jobs on the eligible list of occupations for the Scale-Up route on the UK government’s website generally meet this requirement. Additionally, employers should select the appropriate occupation code for the sponsored role, as an incorrect or inappropriate code selection may result in a visa application refusal.
The Home Office will assess various factors when reviewing visa applications. This assessment includes evaluating whether the business has a genuine need for the role, determining whether the candidate possesses the required skills and experience, and considering whether the business has a history of immigration non-compliance.
Language Requirements for the Scale-Up Visa
Moreover, candidates applying for the Scale-Up visa must meet minimum language requirements. Specifically, they must demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to or higher than CEFR Level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which corresponds to IELTS 4.0. Furthermore, proficiency should be demonstrated in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
However, candidates may be exempt from proving their English language proficiency if they fall into one of the following categories:
How to Apply for a UK Scale-Up Visa
Applicants for the Scale-Up visa should submit their applications online, whether they are outside or inside the UK. The application process requires providing various documents to establish identity and meet eligibility criteria related to language proficiency, finances, job offer, and sponsorship.
Candidates may also need to attend an appointment at a local visa application center to provide biometric information, including fingerprints and photographs.
Switching to the Scale-Up Visa:
Applicants switching to the Scale-Up route from another immigration route within the UK. Must not have been granted permission as a visitor, a short-term student, a parent of a child student, a seasonal worker, or a domestic worker.
Furthermore, they should not have been granted leave outside the immigration rules.
If switching from a Student visa, specific conditions apply:
Cost of the Scale-Up Visa
The Scale-Up visa depends on your situation for the primary applicant and any accompanying dependents. Additionally, applicants are required to pay the annual immigration healthcare surcharge, for each year they plan to stay in the UK.
Additionally, applicants must also meet minimum financial requirements. They should possess a minimum of £1,270, held for at least 28 consecutive days within the 31 days before the Scale-Up visa application date. However, on the other hand, this requirement may be waived if the sponsoring business commits to providing maintenance costs, which may be at least £1,270, as confirmed on the Certificate of Sponsorship. Furthermore, applicants applying to stay in the UK for 12 months or more without prior leave are exempt from showing proof of funds.
Bringing Family Members to the UK on a Scale-Up Visa
Scale-Up visa holders can bring their dependent spouses or partners and dependent children to the UK. However, these family members must meet specific relationship, age, care, and financial requirements to be eligible to accompany the visa holder.
The associated financial cost for dependents for partner and dependents can vary and for each additional dependent child. Best to contact us for the most updated cost. The Sponsors can certify the financial requirement for dependents if the application date is at least one month before the end of the minimum six months required to work for the sponsor.
Dependent partners or spouses can apply for settlement along with the primary visa holder if they complete a continuous lawful period of five years in the UK as a partner of a Scale-Up worker. Dependent children can apply for settlement if both parents have been or are being granted settlement.
Can the Scale-Up Visa Lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Yes, indeed, the Scale-Up visa may lead to indefinite leave to remain if applicants meet the eligibility criteria. However, to qualify for settlement, applicants must have been employed in the UK with a PAYE salary of at least £33,000 per annum. In addition, they should have received guaranteed basic gross PAYE earnings equivalent to at least £33,000 per year for a minimum of 24 months within the three years immediately preceding the settlement application date (or the UK equivalent).
Applicants must also satisfy the basic knowledge of life in the UK requirements and other criteria necessary for indefinite leave to remain status.
How Immigration Secure Can Assist You
Navigating the various visa categories and application procedures can be challenging. Immigration Secure offers expert guidance to help you choose the right Workers Visa category and ensure you meet all specific requirements for a successful application. Our services include comprehensive document checks, assistance with application forms, and the provision of a Letter of Representation to strengthen your case.
To initiate the process of obtaining your Temporary Worker Visa, please reach out to us or make an online enquiry. Our team of professionals is here to guide you through the entire application process.
Frequently Asked Questions
The UK Scale-Up Visa is part of the UK government’s post-Brexit immigration plan, designed for foreign workers with skills to support rapidly growing scale-up businesses. It offers a five-year pathway to permanent settlement and allows visa holders to bring their family members.
The Scale-Up Visa has two stages: Stage 1 (Two Years) requires a job offer from an eligible UK Scale-Up sponsor, meeting specific criteria. Stage 2 (Three Years) allows existing Scale-Up workers to work in the UK without employer sponsorship, provided they meet salary requirements.
To be eligible, candidates must be at least 18 years old, possess a valid certificate of sponsorship, have a genuine job offer at an appropriate skill level and meet specific salary and language proficiency criteria.
The certificate must be issued by an eligible UK Scale-Up business, and the business should have an A-rated status with annual growth of at least 20% in turnover or staffing. The certificate should not be issued more than three months before the application date.
Jobs offered by sponsors must be genuine and meet the minimum skill level (RQF level 6 or higher). The job must not involve arrangements to fill positions for third parties not mentioned on the certificate of sponsorship.
Applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to at least CEFR Level B1, unless exempt based on specific criteria.
Applicants should submit their applications online and may need to provide biometric information at a local visa application center.
Switching is possible, but certain visa types are ineligible, such as visitor visas. Specific conditions apply when switching from a Student visa.
The visa fee dependent on your situation.
Yes, you can bring dependent spouses, partners, and children. They must meet specific requirements and pay associated fees.
Yes, the Scale-Up Visa may lead to ILR if applicants meet criteria, including a minimum PAYE salary requirement of £33,000 per annum and other eligibility criteria for settlement.
Required documents include identity documents, proof of finances, the certificate of sponsorship, proof of language proficiency, and tuberculosis test results (if required), among others.