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UK Scale-Up Visa: Everything You Need to Know
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UK Scale-Up Visa: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: 12 April, 2024

By Dr Lusine Navasardyan

Dr Lusine Navasardyan is Director and Head of Corporate and Business Immigration at RVS Solicitors. Dr Lusine studied at Yerevan State University and the Bucharest University of Economic Studies. She is also a published author and a member of the Bucharest Bar. As a Director of RVS Solicitors, she is instrumental to the operation of the law firm, and as Head of Corporate and Business Immigration, she helps our clients to forge new futures in the UK.

On 22 August, a new UK immigration route, the Scale-Up visa, has been introduced. This route is part of many work routes that are aiming to attract the best and the brightest of professionals to the UK. 

In this blog, we will try to address the key frequently asked questions (FAQs) in relation to the Scale-up visa route and how our immigration lawyers are able to assist you with this. 

Please get in touch to book an appointment for more detail or assistance. 

What is the UK Scale-Up visa?

The Scale-Up visa is a new points-based visa route for highly skilled migrant workers. It has been introduced by the government to ensure those recruited by a sponsor company with the necessary skills, can positively contribute to the business that is hiring them but also to enrich the UK professional talent pool.  

There are two ways of qualifying under the visa – Sponsored and Unsponsored. Effectively, the initial applications will always be under the Sponsored route and then an extension application can be under the Unsponsored one, as the Unsponsored route is only for those who have already been granted permission as a Scale-up worker.

Who is the Scale-Up visa for?

The Scale-up visa is designed to allow those with a suitable job offer at the required skill level from a recognised UK Scale-up Sponsor to qualify for a work visa.

The job offer for this visa must be for a position that falls under one of the codes recognised as suitable for this route. You can see the list of eligible occupation codes and corresponding salaries here.

What are the requirements for a Scale-up visa UK?

As the Scale-up visa is a points-based route, your application will be assessed based on the number of points you can score. 

You will be able to score 50 points if you have a Sponsorship from a qualifying sponsor and will be paid an appropriate salary.

The minimum salary requirement on this route is £33,300 per year, however it can be higher if the going rate for your specific job is higher.

For instance, if you are applying as an Investment Banker (one of the eligible occupations), the minimum salary will be £43,600 per year for a 39 hour work week. 

If you are already in the UK on a Scale-up visa and you simply need to apply for further leave, then you will fall under the Unsponsored route, meaning that you cannot claim 50 points based on having sponsorship and an appropriate salary.

For this stage, you will need to prove that your UK earnings during your most recent permission under Scale-Up visa were meeting the above requirements.

In the example of the same Investment Banker, if they make a new application for leave to remain on a Scale-up visa, once their initial leave has run out, they will need to show that during their time spent in the UK on the Scale-up visa, they had earned the required amount, ie for an Investment Banker at least £43,600 per year. 

The remaining 20 points in both, Sponsored and Unsponsored applications, can be scored by meeting the English Language and the financial requirements.

For this route, the minimum level of English that will need to be demonstrated is CEFR Level B1. 

As for financial requirements, you will need to show that you have at least £1270 in funds or your Sponsor must be willing to certify on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they will maintain and accommodate you up to the end of your first month of employment. 

Other requirements that you need to meet for the UK new Scale-Up visa, you must:

  • Be 18 or over;
  • Provide a valid TB certificate if required.
  • Satisfy suitability requirements, which means you must not have a criminal conviction or have a bad immigration history, such as overstaying etc.

If you are not sure whether your criminal record or immigration history can damage your Scale-up visa application, please speak to our immigration solicitors for personalised advice on the matter. 

Who can be a Scale-up UK Sponsor?

To be a Scale-up visa Sponsor, a UK organisation will need to meet all the Sponsor Licence requirements and demonstrate that:

  • They are a UK-based, trading and trustworthy business.
  • They are capable of offering genuine employment that meets the Scale-up requirements, as well as their duties under Sponsor Licence.

However, apart from these generic requirements, there are two specific criteria they will need to fulfil, to be granted a Scale-Up Sponsor Licence:

  1. The business will need to demonstrate that in the past 3 years they had a 20% annual growth, based either on the staff count or turnover
  2. The business will need to demonstrate that at the beginning of the 3 year period, they had at least 10 employees.

How do I apply for a Scale-up visa?

The Scale-up visa has open from 22nd August 2022, you will be able to apply online via the Government website, from both inside and outside the UK. You will need to provide the necessary documents and biometrics, and pay the relevant fees and the health surcharge.

If you require assistance with this visa, our immigration lawyers are here to guide you. 

How long does Scale-up visa last?

Entry clearance will be granted for a period of 2 years, after which you can apply to extend the stay. The extension will be for a further 3 years and will not require a sponsor. 

After a continuous period of 5 years, you may be eligible to apply for settlement to stay permanently.

Can I settle on a UK Scale-up visa?

The Scale-Up visa is a settlement route. To settle on this visa, you will need to demonstrate that you have spent at least 5 years in the UK or Scale-Up or other qualifying routes, such as a Skilled worker visa, Innovator visa, Global Talent etc. 

You will also need to meet a salary requirement, which is at least £33,000 per year for at least 24 months in the last 3 years in the UK

You will need to meet the Life in the UK and English requirements, similar to other settlement routes. 

What you can and can not do on a Scale up visa

Scale-up visa offers a lot more freedom than the usual work routes, as this route allows you to work for anyone and not only your sponsor, engage in self-employment and study. You will need to work for your Sponsoring employer for at least 6 months, however following that time you can take up other employment without the need to make change of employment application or any other formalities. 

You can bring your partner and child to the UK and they can settle with you within 5 years of living in the UK. 

How can RVS solicitors help you?

We, here at RVS Solicitors, have a team of Immigration specialists with years of experience. We ensure not only to obtain the best possible outcome, but we make sure you know you are in good hands. 

Legal matters are particularly complex, confusing and time-consuming especially when we all have a range of commitments in life that keep us occupied. This is exactly why we understand just how stressful they can be, and our goal is to minimise this for you.

In our approach to clients, we think it extremely important to simplify matters as much as possible, guide you through every step of the process, as well as be there for you whenever you need us, so that you can get back to focusing on things that matter. 

We are confident in our abilities and our clients and successes speak for themselves, check out our client testimonials here.

Send us an email today at info@rvssolicitors.co.uk and we can help you apply under this visa category or browse our website for all the services we offer

Contact our experts in Immigration
UK Scale-Up Visa: Everything You Need to Know
Director & Head of Corporate & Business Immigration
Please call us on 020 3372 5125 or get an online consultation
UK Scale-Up Visa: Everything You Need to Know
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