On 22 August 2022, the new Scale Up Visa was introduced. This exciting new business immigration visa route forms part of the Government’s aim to support businesses, with the potential for growth, in recruiting the very best talent from around the world more easily.
The Scale Up visa is a points-based system route for employees employed by a licenced Scale Up visa sponsor. Only businesses that meet the criteria can register as a Scale Up Visa sponsor.
The employer will need to register first as a licenced sponsor with the Home Office.
The key difference between a Scale Up visa and the Skilled Worker visa is that the workers can change employers after just 6 months without the need to make a Change of Employment application. This gives the overseas worker more flexibility compared to other sponsored routes, as they can work at any skill level after 6 months. For the employer, their sponsorship responsibilities also end after the 6 months.
Study is permitted under this route, and, as with other visa routes, the primary visa holder can bring dependent family members to the UK with the option to eventually apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as long as the requirements are met.
There are two main criteria that need to be met in order for a business to register to become a Scale Up Visa sponsor:
- They must be able to demonstrate that they have an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous 3 years – this is in terms of both turnover and staff
- Companies must also have a minimum of 10 employees at the beginning of this 3-year period.
The application can be made on the Home Office website. Once the sponsorship has been approved, the company will need to assign their new recruit a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The CoS has a unique reference number which the employee can use for their Scale Up Visa application.
For the prospective employee, the visa can be applied for on the Home Office website both inside and outside the UK. However, the employee will need to fulfil eligibility criteria which includes:
- Aged 18 or over
- Having a job offer that is of graduate level
- Be paid the appropriate salary for the role as specified by the Home Office – this is at least £33,000 per annum or the going rate (whichever is higher).
- The candidate will need to speak English at CEFR B1
The cost of the visa application is £715, excluding the mandatory immigration health surcharge. Unless exempt, employee must have sufficient maintenance funds, currently £1270.
The Scale Up visa is granted for 2 years. In order to extend their stay after the two years, it is not necessary for the employee to meet sponsorship requirements, nor do they need to be working for the same employer. However, the employee must be able to prove PAYE earnings of at least £33,000 per year during at least 50% of the most recent Scale Up visa. Extensions will be granted for 3 years. After 5 continuous years of living in the UK, the applicant may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, as long as they meet the requirements.
The new Scale Up visa provides a host of benefits for both the employer and employee. It is a welcomed route to working and living in the UK, particularly as the worker only requires 6 months “sponsorship” before they can start working freely under the visa.
A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your sponsorship or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at Contact Us today. We’re here to help!