UK Launched Scale-Up Visa

UK Launched Scale-Up Visa

The new UK Scale-up visa officially launches today, 22 August 2022. The new visa route is aimed at foreign nationals who have been recruited by a UK sponsor. 

The scale-up visa was created to make it quicker and easier for fast-growing businesses to bring highly skilled individuals to the UK. 

In order to be eligible for a UK scale-up visa, one of the most important requirements is that applicants must have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship (Cos) issued by an approved sponsor or employer. The sponsoring business must also be in the scale-up phase with rapid growth.  Applicants will also need to have received a job offer from a qualifying scale-up business at an appropriate salary level.

Uniquely, the rules allow scale-up visa holders to leave their sponsored role after 6 months and switch to an unsponsored role.

Under the conditions of the new UK visa programme, a scale-up is considered to be a high-growth company that has grown by 20% or more in either employment or turnover year-on-year for a minimum of two years. Businesses must have at least 10 employees at the start of their observation period.

Road to UK Residency

To receive a scale-up visa, the Home Office must be convinced that applicants are filling a genuine vacancy at an appropriate skill level and salary. Sponsored individuals must also meet an English language requirement and have access to at least £1,270 in funds.

If granted, scale-up visa holders can stay for an initial period of 2 years, after which they can further extend their stay for an additional 3 years. After five years of continuous qualifying residence in the UK, scale-up visa holders could be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. Scale-up visa applicants are also exempt from the UK Immigration Skills Surcharge.

Additionally, self-employment is possible under the scale-up visa, although workers must work for their sponsor for at least six months but they can carry out other work at the same time and after their sponsored role ends – including self-employment.

Scale-Up Visa vs Skilled Worker Visa

Both visas are part of the Home Office’s points-based immigration system (PBS), and both require a sponsored job offer from a UK employer. Scale-up visa holders have the option to switch to a new job or employer after 6 months and no longer need to be sponsored at this point however Skilled Worker visa holders must remain sponsored.

The salary requirement for the Scale-Up visa is also higher at £33,000 compared to £25,600 for the Skilled Worker visa. Both visas also require applicants to meet English language requirements.

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