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What is the Scale-Up Visa?


What is it?

The Scale-up visa is a newly introduced route for those coming to the UK to work. Suitable candidates can apply for jobs with any UK company deemed a Scale-up business. 

Unlike other sponsored visas, the Scale-up visa allows businesses to employ high-skilled individuals who will receive 2 years’ leave to remain in the UK without requiring further sponsorship or permission beyond the first six months.

 There are two stages to the Scale Up Visa. The first stage is to find a suitable sponsor. The sponsor needs to offer a suitable job in the UK, and the skills and salary levels must be correct for the position. There are also English language requirements that you must meet. Once you’ve found a suitable sponsor, you can work for that employer for at least six months. After this, you can work for any employer.

Who can be a Scale-up Sponsor?

The sponsor must be an eligible fast-growing business. The UK government has set out requirements for companies to be considered Scale-Up businesses. Successful companies will be put on the Sponsor register with the home office; the register can be found here. Contrary to popular belief, Scale-up businesses will have to apply for a licence and use the Certificate of Sponsorship to be able to sponsor migrants. To qualify, the companies will need to show growth over three years of 20%. This growth can be either by the number of employees or by turnover (sales). In any case, the employee number in year one must be at least ten. The Home Office will check Pay As You Earn (PAYE) information and/or VAT returns to assess whether the company qualifies.

Who is it for?

The Scale Up Visa allows businesses to bring in highly skilled workers worldwide. Once a successful applicant has worked for an eligible company for six months, they are given leave to work in the UK without sponsorship. You can work for any business or set up your own business after six months. However, only salaried via PAYE income can be counted toward any wage thresholds necessary for extending this visa.

Can this visa be extended?

This visa can be extended and leads to Settlement, known as Indefinite Leave to Remain. 
To extend the visa, the applicant will have to show that they have earned at least £33,000 per annum for at least 50% of their time in the UK as a Scale-up worker. 
You can settle after spending five years in the UK either as a Scale-up worker or as a combination of any of the following: Scale-up, Skilled worker, Global Talent, Innovator, Representative of an overseas business Tier 1, Tier 1 General, Tier 1 Investor, Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Tier 1 Exception talent. In addition, you must have had monthly PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year for at least 24 months of the three years immediately before the date of application to qualify for Settlement.

Summary :

The Scale-up visa has been written very well in terms of the rules, and it appears that the caseworkers will have to provide further flexibility to the applicants in terms of asking for additional documents and having a more positive approach when deciding to grant the licence to businesses. However, finding a suitable scale-up business might be difficult initially as not many companies can demonstrate growth of 20% over 3 years with at least 10 employees.