What is the Scale-up Visa?
The Scale-Up visa is a secure long term route to settlement in the UK which enables candidates to excel in a British business and employers to recruit talented overseas workers who will be assets to their company.
This 5 year route allows applicants to bypass the Immigration skills charge, as well as freedom to develop skills in other work after the first 6 month period, which other temporary work visas do not allow.
For example, a candidate could decide to undertake volunteer or charity work, start their own business with self-employment, or even change jobs entirely, providing they meet eligibility requirements throughout the duration of their stay.
For this reason, the Scale-Up visa route is popular with individuals seeking temporary work in the UK for the benefit of their career or for ILR (Indefinite leave to remain) reasons.
Due to its freedoms and benefits for the potential candidate, applications must be precise and accurate. Manchester Immigration lawyers offer expert advice and will guide you through the process with clarity and professionalism.
Our lawyers will ensure your application meets Home Office regulation, and will walk you through every step of your route to the UK.
The Scale-Up visa
The UK government announced the Scale-UP visa route as part of efforts to attract talented overseas professionals to the UK.
This new visa route will allow qualifying, fast-growing businesses to hire high-skilled overseas workers, allowing for skilled worker entry into the UK and for business growth.
Some business sectors rely almost entirely on overseas skilled workers, and for companies experiencing rapid growth it is essential to hire to right people that will benefit the business.
The Scale-Up visa enables successful, up and coming post start-up businesses to employ highly skilled workers the pathway into the UK, without having to relocate their business and affect the British economy.
The Scale-Up visa provides a multitude of incentives for potential candidates, resulting in hand in hand benefits for both employer and candidate.
The Scale-Up visa is a 5 year residency in the UK for candidates and dependants (eligibility providing).
For ease of understanding, the information has been split into 3 sections; a 6 month starter period, a 2 year period, and a 5 year period.
In the initial 6 months of their residency, candidates must be employed under the occupation code of their sponsor.
After this 6 month period, Scale-Up visa workers will be eligible to progress on to any job of their choosing, such as volunteer or charity work, self employment, or job occupation changes.
The second stage is after this 6 month period, candidates will be allowed a 2 year residency providing they have met and continue to meet eligibility requirements.
The third stage, candidates are granted permission to a further 3 years residency as long as they are within eligibility requirements.
During this period, workers will be unsponsored, as long as applicants demonstrate they have received a monthly guaranteed basic gross PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least half of the time during stage two (their 2 year residency) of their Scale-Up worker visa.
After the applicant has come to the 5 year mark of their Scale-Up visa, they are eligible for ILR (Indefinite leave to remain which is settled status in the UK).
This is only attainable if they have demonstrated they:
- Meet the knowledge of life requirements
- Be employed in the UK with a yearly salary of at least £33,000
- Have had monthly guaranteed basic gross PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least 24 months of the 3 years immediately before the date of the settlement application.
To qualify for the Scale-Up visa, Scale-Up worker applicants must meet certain requirements.
Candidates must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Currently on a salary of at least 33,000 per year as well as the going rate for their specific occupation code
- Candidates will need to have the appropriate skill level and be sufficient in the English language (speech, written, auditory, and written, all at least at B1 level)
- Have a UK sponsor (a UK employer), and a valid certificate of sponsorship from said sponsor
- Financially stable and able to provide proof of this (they must have held funds of at least £1,270 for 28 days/are certified by their sponsor)
Documents you will need
All Scale-Up worker applicants must provide these documents for a considered application.
As the Scale-Up visa was announced in Autumn 2021 and took effect in Spring 2022, the full details of the candidate requirements have not been finalised.
It is thought, as the Scale-Up is still a UK visa, the following eligibility requirements for a Scale-Up worker will be in effect:
- A valid certificate of sponsorship, which will include their unique reference number integral to their application.
- Proof of financial requirements, such as a bank statement
- A valid passport or recognised identity document
- Your job details and occupation code, including your current annual salary
- The name and details of your sponsor including their license number
- Proof of relationship for any spouse, partner, or child included in the visa application process
- Tuberculosis test results if you are coming from any of these countries into the UK
You will need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not printed in English or Welsh.
You may also be required to provide, depending on your circumstance:
- A blank page in your passport for your visa
- Information about your graduate training program
- Evidence you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK for 3 months
- A valid AITAS certificate for PhD students (you will be notified in advance if this applies to you).
- If you are required to provide this information, then you will need to show you have been paid by your employer over this period.You can provide:
- Online payslips or printed payslips, supported by a letter from your sponsor signed by a senior staff member
- Bank or building society statements
- A building society pass book
Applicants are able to bring their dependants (family) with them bring their residence in the UK providing their dependants apply for separate visas and adhere to their eligibility and financial requirements.
Each family member will need to complete a separate application and pay the visa fees. They must apply before they travel to the UK.
They will also need your application number, which you will receive when you apply for your Scale-Up visa.
This application number is called a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). You will find it on emails and letters from the Home Office regarding your Scale-up visa application.
Dependants must pay the correct separate fees listed for partners and for children.
A dependant is someone who is:
- A spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner
- A child under 18
- A child over 18 if they are currently in the UK as your dependant
Their visa will mirror yours, including start and end dates.
You will need to prove the relationship of any dependants you have listed as included in your Scale-Up visa application.
- Providing marriage certificates for spouses or evidence to support the grounds for a real relationship for unmarried partners, such as proof you have been living together for over 2 years
- Providing birth certificates for children
If your child is 16 or over, they must:
- Live with you (unless they are at boarding school, college, or university)
- Be unmarried and have no children
- Be financially supported by you
If your child lives with you, you will need to provide evidence of their address such as:
- A bank statement
- Credit card bills
- Driving licence
- NHS registration document
- An official letter from their university or college
As part of their application, your partner and children will need to prove their identity by way of a biometric residence permit.
Candidates and dependents will need to prove they are financially viable for the Scale-Up visa. Applicants must also cover application fees, which are as follows:
- The application fee (£259)
- The healthcare surcharge (£624) per year
- Prove your financial security by having at least £1,270 in your account for at least 28 days. This is to prove you are able to financially support yourself.
If your employer is willing to pay your maintenance charges to the extent that the maintenance cost is at least £1,270, you may not have to pay the maintenance charges to the extent required. You have to verify the information in your sponsors’ certificates.
Your partner and/or children must have a sufficient amount of money available to support themselves while they are staying in the UK.
Your partner or child will individually need:
- £285 (for your partner)
- £315 (for a single child)
- £200 (for each additional child)You have all been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.
Your employer may offer to cover your family’s costs during your first month in the UK – this must be confirmed on your certificate of sponsorship and by your sponsor.
Your partner or child will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row.
Day 28 must be within 31 days of the date you or they apply for this visa.
You will usually need to show proof of this when they apply.
Employers (sponsors) must also meet with eligibility requirements regarding their qualifying Scale-Up business and its suitability for the Scale-Up visa scheme and Scale-Up workers.
To qualify as a UK Scale-Up sponsor, a business will need to prove stability in that it has:
- A minimum of 10 employees at the beginning of the 3 year period.
- An average annual turnover and/or employee growth rate of at least 20% for the preceding 3 year period.
The sponsor business must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor candidates via the Scale-Up route, and must hold an A-rated Sponsor Licence.
The K. government may also explore whether a Scale-Up business who can demonstrate an expectation of strong growth in future years could qualify following a review.
Extending the Scale-Up visa
The Scale-Up visa offers a 5 year residency. The UK requires visa holders to have lived/worked at least 5 years in Britain to qualify for settlement status.
It is believed that the Scale-Up visa will allow visa extensions, however if candidates and dependents can prove they have met the eligibility requirements throughout their residency, an extension should not be required.
Scale-Up visa vs the Skilled Worker visa
Both the Scale-Up visa and Skilled Worker visa allow applicants a safe route to British business opportunities, career growth, and potential settled status (Indefinite leave to remain) in the UK.
The regulations for applying are similar, as with any UK visa application process. However, the salary requirement for the Scale-Up visa is higher( £33,000) than the Skilled Worker visa (£25,600).
Although not fully confirmed due to its immediacy in taking effect, it is suspected the Scale-Up visa will have a turnaround of 72 hours, compared to the Skilled Worker visa taking up to 3 weeks for a decision.
Although both fast for visa applications, the Scale-Up offers a fast-track turnaround to secure potential candidates, providing insight into the value of skilled overseas workers to UK businesses.
How can we help?
Our Manchester Immigration Lawyers have extensive experience helping businesses to bring students from overseas into the United Kingdom via the Scale-Up visa route, as well as years of experience with other immigration related cases.
Our professional solicitors can provide support in getting an appropriate sponsorship license and sponsors, as well as guidance with supporting application documents in a timely and efficient manner.
Manchester Immigration lawyers can offer you assistance in:
- Applying for a Scale-Up visa as an applicant
- Determining if the new Scale-Up visa will be suitable for you
- A walk through of other immigration routes or visa options
- Checking whether your business matches the criteria for the Scale-Up visa
- Applying for a Scale-Up visa extension
- Assistance if you have a refusal decision on the Scale-Up visa applications
Frequently Asked Questions
Individuals are able to apply for Long-term Standard Visitor visas if you visit the UK regularly, among the various other immigration routes that the UK offers.
This visa lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.
Visas are two way deals, and individuals must usually provide a valuable asset to the UK, either economically, politically, socially, etc.
The UK must also provide assistance and aid to individuals applying for visas, in that the country has a duty to applicants to protect them as much as they can, and ensure a safe UK immigration route.
Yes. Applicants are eligible to fast track their applications for a fee as well as the baseline application fee.
It usually costs £800 to fast track, and application fees are dependant on the type of visa you are applying for.
If you’re eligible you can choose the ‘super priority service’ when you apply.
This super priority service ensures visa application decisions will be made at the end of the next working day after applying.
However, Scale-Up visa applications are believed to have a turnaround of only 72 hours. It is uncertain whether or not the UK Scale-Up visa will have a ‘super priority service’ option.
While conducting visa interviews, consular officers look at each application individually and consider the applicant’s circumstances, travel plans, financial resources, and ties outside of the UK that will ensure the applicant’s departure after a temporary visit.
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