A Scale-up worker visa allows a migrant to come to the UK as a sponsored worker for a fast-growing UK business/company. The job role must be listed as once of the Eligible Occupations under the Immigration Rules. A list of such occupations may be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-skilled-occupations

There are a number of pre-existing requirements to be satisfied before a visa/leave to remain application can be submitted:

  1. The sponsoring business/company has to satisfy the definition of a ‘scale-up business’, so companies, including small businesses and those in the tech and financial services sectors, that have achieved growth of 20% or more in either employment or turnover year-on-year for at least 3 years and employed a minimum of 10 people at the start of the 3 years will be eligible to sponsor talented individuals through the Scale-up visa.
  2. The sponsoring business/company has to hold an appropriate Sponsorship Licence

The visa requirements for a Sponsored Application:

  • The Applicant for the role must have received a job offer from an approved scale-up business/company
  • The job offer must be for a minimum period  of 6 months and on the list of Eligible Occupations
  • The Applicant has been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from their employer
  • The Applicant is offered a salary of at least £33,000 per year or £10.10 per hour or the ‘going rate’ for the job
  • The Applicant has to meet the English language requirement
  • The Applicant has sufficient funds to support himself and his dependants

Length of the Visa/Leave to Remain;

If the Applicant has satisfied the Sponsored Application requirements, they will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for 2 years.

If the Applicant satisfied the Unsponsored Application requirements, they will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for 3 years

This route leads to settlement as long as the Applicant has spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK consisting of time with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes:

  • Scale-up; or
  • Skilled Worker; or
  • Global Talent; or
  • Innovator; or
  • T2 Minister of Religion; or
  • (International Sportsperson; or
  • Representative of an Overseas Business; or
  • as a Tier 1 Migrant, other than Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).

The difference between Sponsored and Unsponsored route:

After the initial 6 months period in the UK, the Scale-up visa holder can change job or employer. This allows the Applicant to seek other employment opportunities with employers who do not hold sponsorship licence (unsponsored job). They can also become self-employed. This allows flexibility that is not common in any other immigration route.

It is important to note that in order for the migrant to apply for settlement, the migrant must be in employment in the UK with a salary paid through PAYE of at least £33,000 per year, on the date of application and must have had monthly PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least 24 months for the 3 years immediately before the date of application.

This is a relatively new immigration route which allows significant flexibility to workers in the UK.

For more information about the Scale-up worker visa or any immigration advice, please contact Efrat Shemesh at es@branchaustinmccormick.com or another member of our immigration team.

Branch Austin McCormick LLP
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