Scale Up Visa launched to attract talented individuals from around the globe

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15 September, 2022

Amy Stokes
Partner & Head of Business Immigration

The Scale-up route opened for applications on 22 August 2022 and is unlike other sponsored visas that have been introduced previously. A Scale-up worker visa allows applicants to travel to or remain in the UK to do an eligible job for a fast-growing UK business, also referred to as a 'Scale-up business'. Through utilisation of these new changes, high-growth UK businesses will have greater flexibility to attract talented individuals from around the globe, all with the premise of supporting their growth, boosting the economy, and expanding the UK's high-skilled workforce.

Scale-up requirements - the business

  • The first stage for a business to sponsor workers on this route is to apply for and be granted a sponsor licence under the Scale-up category. To be eligible for a Scale-up licence, businesses must demonstrate:
  • an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous three years in metrics of either turnover or staffing levels; and
  • they had a minimum of ten employees at the start of this three-year period.

Once the licence is approved, businesses will be able to issue certificates of sponsorship to applicants provided that the role on offer is eligible for sponsorship (skilled to graduate level or above) and pays the required salary level.

Scale-up requirements - the applicant

Applicants looking to apply under this route must:

  • the job be an eligible skilled occupations under the UK's Immigration Rules.
  • be paid an annual salary of at least £33,000 or the "going rate" for the occupation in question.
  • meet the English language requirement; and
  • meet the financial maintenance requirement

Initial permission for a Scale-up visa will be granted for a period of two years. However, unlike other sponsored immigration routes, the Scale-up visa will only require individuals to be sponsored for the first six months on this route. After this period, the individual can change roles and employers without needing to make a subsequent application within the two years they have been issued.

Pros & cons of the Scale-up visa

Pros for applicants:

  • route to settlement in the UK
  • do not require a sponsor after six months
  • can change and move around roles with their sponsor without the need for a new application
  • work outside of the sponsored role is permitted
  • greater flexibility

Pros for businesses:

  • only required to sponsor migrants for six months
  • lower Home Office fees (when compared with other immigration routes)
  • compliance duties end after six months
  • greater flexibility for their sponsored workers to change roles within the business over time

Cons for businesses:

  • may not qualify as a 'Scale-up business'
  • sponsored workers may leave after six months (clawback provisions in contracts are more likely to be used)

How can we help?

Our specialist immigration team have expert knowledge and experience of the UK Visas and Immigration system and work with organisations who employ foreign nationals from all over the world. If you are an individual or a business looking to utilise these new changes, please contact Amy Stokes.

For more information contact Amy Stokes in our Business Immigration department via email or phone on 0333 207 1157. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Business Immigration department here

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