What is the UK Scale-up visa?
The UK Scale-up visa goes live on 22 August 2022.
But what is it and how does it work?
The idea is to meet the need of UK scale-ups, which are often reliant on overseas talent. The (current) government wants to make the UK a global enterprise hub.
It also responds to a common critique of the UK start-up scene – that they struggle to grow and there are few big UK based giants.
What are the benefits?
There are some notable advantages for the UK Scale-up visa. For one, applications will be fast tracked.
For another, employers would normally need to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (up to £1,000 per employee for the first year) for sponsoring employees. The charge is not payable for the scale-up visa.
The visa is also extendable, so offers applicants a realistic prospect of permanent settlement in due course.
After five continuous years (potentially starting under the sponsored route and moving onto the unsponsored route) you will qualify for indefinite leave to remain provided you also meet other income and employment criteria.
Your dependent partners over 18 or children under 18 can join you in the UK.
Sponsored or Unsponsored scale-up visa
Applicants will have two choices, a sponsored or an unsponsored application.
The sponsored visa gives an applicant two years to stay in the UK, while the unsponsored visa grants permission to stay for three years.
For those seeking the sponsored route, you will need sponsorship from an employer that meets the definition of a “scale-up business”.
What is a scale-up business?
A “Scale up business” is ultimately one that the Home Office has certified as such.
But to do so the business will have needed to show they have yearly growth in turnover or staffing of 20% over the previous 3 years (starting the period with 10 employees).
Once listed by the Home Office as “A-Rated” the employer will be able to issue you with a certificate of sponsorship. You will need to apply within three months of the date of this certificate.
What jobs are eligible?
The Government will publish a list of jobs that are eligible for this scale-up route. They will be those sorts of jobs typically found at scale-ups, including software development.
There is a minimum salary of £33,000, which is higher than the Skilled Worker visa.
You will also need to say that you expect to be employed for 6 months and satisfy the Home Office that your job is a genuine one. It will have to be at a minimum skill level (RQF Level 6).
As with all immigration routes, the process is fiddly and small errors can be costly further down the line. Our skilled team can help, just get in touch here.