The Scale-Up Worker visa is a type of UK work visa introduced in 2021 to attract highly skilled professionals to work for UK-based scale-up companies.
A scale-up company is defined as a UK-based company with an annual turnover of at least £1 million, that has experienced an average annualized growth of at least 20% over a three-year period.
If you need legal advice or help with your UK Scale-up Worker visa application, our experienced immigration lawyer can provide you with the help you need.
Table of Contents
- What is a Scale-up visa UK?
- How to apply for a Scale-up visa UK?
- UK Scale-up visa requirements
- Scale-up visa vs Skilled Worker visa
- Scale-up visa UK sponsorship
- UK Scale-up Worker visa processing time
- How much is a Scale-up visa cost?
- How can our immigration lawyer help you?
What is a Scale-up visa UK?
The Scale-up Worker visa is a type of UK work visa that allows non-EEA nationals to work in the UK for up to 5 years in a skilled job with a high-growth potential UK-based company. The visa is designed to attract talented individuals who can contribute to the UK's tech industry and help scale up UK-based startups.
To be eligible for the Scale-up Worker visa, the applicant must have a job offer from a UK-based company that is endorsed by an approved endorsing body. The company must be a high-growth potential startup with a strong track record of innovation, and the job offered must be in a qualifying occupation, such as software engineering, data analysis, or product management.
The Scale-Up Worker visa is valid for up to five years and can lead to settlement in the UK after five years of continuous residence. It also allows visa holders to bring their dependents to the UK.
How to apply for a Scale-up visa UK?
To apply for a Scale-Up Worker visa in the UK, you will need to follow these steps:
- Obtain a job offer from a UK-based scale-up company that is on the UK government's approved list of companies.
- Check that you meet the eligibility requirements for the Scale-Up Worker visa, including meeting the qualifications and English language proficiency requirements, and having sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK.
- Complete the online application form on the UK government's website, providing your personal details, employment information, and evidence to support your application.
- Pay the application fee.
- Attend a biometric appointment to provide your fingerprints and photograph.
- Wait for a decision on your application. The processing time for a Scale-Up Worker visa application can vary depending on the volume of applications being processed at the time, but it is typically within several weeks.
- If your application is approved, you will be issued a visa.
It is important to ensure that your application is complete and accurate before submitting it, as any errors or omissions could result in delays or a refusal of your application. You should also ensure that you submit your application well in advance of any planned travel to the UK to allow sufficient processing time.
UK Scale-up visa requirements
To be eligible for a UK Scale-Up Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have a job offer from a UK-based scale-up company that is on the UK government's approved list of companies.
- Have a 'certificate of sponsorship' from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK.
- you'll meet the salary requirements.
- you'll be working in your sponsored job for at least 6 months.
- You must prove you can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements depending on type of application and your personal circumstances. Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.
Scale-up visa vs Skilled Worker visa
The Scale-Up Worker visa and Skilled Worker visa are both types of UK work visas, but they have some key differences.
One of the main differences between the two visas is the type of employer that can sponsor the visa. The Scale-Up Worker visa is only available to scale-up companies, while the Skilled Worker visa is available to any UK-based employer that holds a valid sponsor license. Another difference is that the Skilled Worker visa has a points-based system that applicants must score enough points to be eligible for the visa, while the Scale-Up Worker visa does not have a points-based system.
Overall, the main difference between the Scale-Up Worker visa and the Skilled Worker visa is the type of employer that can sponsor the visa, but both visas have similar eligibility requirements and lead to similar benefits.
Scale-up visa UK sponsorship
To sponsor a candidate for a Scale-Up Worker visa in the UK, a company must meet certain requirements and complete the following steps:
- The company must be a UK-based scale-up company that is on the UK government's approved list of companies. The company must have been trading for less than 10 years and must be able to demonstrate that it has the potential to achieve significant growth in the UK.
- The company must apply for and obtain a sponsorship licence from the UK government's Home Office. This involves completing an online application form, paying a fee, and providing supporting documents to show that the company is genuine and meets the requirements for sponsorship.
- Once the company has obtained a sponsorship license, it can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the candidate it wishes to sponsor. The CoS contains information about the job that the candidate has been offered, including the job title, salary, and start date.
- The candidate can then use the CoS to apply for a Scale-Up Worker visa from outside the UK or to switch to a Scale-Up Worker visa from within the UK if they are already in the UK on another eligible visa.
- The company must comply with its sponsorship duties, which include keeping records of the candidate's immigration status, reporting any changes to the candidate's circumstances, and ensuring that the candidate is not undertaking work that is not covered by their visa.
It is important for the company to ensure that it meets all of the requirements for sponsorship and compliance with its duties to avoid any penalties or loss of sponsorship privileges.
UK Scale-up Worker visa processing time
You will usually get a decision on your Scale-up Worker visa within 3 weeks if you are applying from outside the UK. You should get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks if applying from inside the UK.
How much is a Scale-up visa cost?
Home Office (UKVI) fee for a Scale-up Worker visa application is £715. You need to pay the IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge) in addition to the visa application fee.
Please note that these fees are subject to change, and you should always check the most up-to-date information on the UK government's official website before applying for a visa.
How can our immigration lawyer help you?
As part of our immigration services for your immigration application, our expert immigration lawyer will:
- assess your eligibility for the relevant visa type by fully considering your circumstances;
- advise you on the required supporting documents to be submitted in support of your immigration application;
- assess all the documents to ensure that the documents you provide are as per the requirements of the Immigration Rules;
- advise you on strengths and potential weaknesses in your visa application and how you can overcome such weaknesses if any;
- complete the online immigration draft application form to share it with you for cross-checking;
- submit your application online and schedule your biometrics appointments with the relevant commercial partner of the UKVI;
- prepare a detailed cover letter in support of the immigration application explaining in detail how you are meeting all the requirements of the Immigration Rules so that you have the maximum chances of succeeding in your visa application;
- upload all the supporting documents online in support of the immigration application in their correct format and order;
- dealing and responding to any caseworker enquiries or correspondence from the Home Office caseworker for any further documents or information concerning your pending immigration application;
- do all the follow-up work on your immigration application until a decision is received from the Home Office UKVI.