The Scale-up visa is for individuals recruited by UK Scale-up Sponsor employer, as those individuals have been identified to have the skills and knowledge to enable the UK scale-up business to continue growing.

  • The Scale-up visa route is due to open for applicants on 22nd August 2022.
  • The Scale-up route leads to settlement after 5 years continuous residence.
  • A dependent partner and dependent children can apply on this route.
  • Who can benefit from the scale-up visa scheme

    It is aimed at candidates with a high level of skills (graduate level jobs) who can use the scheme to come and settle in the UK. For the highly skilled individuals the scale-up visa scheme may be a good alternative to some other work visa routes.

    scale-up visa uk
    Scale-up visa is for highly skilled migrants

    What are the requirements for visa route

    Scale-up Worker must meet all the following requirements:

    • The applicant must be aged 18 or over on the date of application
    • If the applicant is making a sponsored application, they must have a Certificate of Sponsorship that was issued to them by Scale- up Sponsor
    • The applicant must have a high-skilled job offer (i.e. graduate level, NQF Level 6 or above)
    • Minimum salary level (£33,000 or above).
    • The applicant may only make a Sponsored Application if the conditions for making an Unsponsored Application are not met.
    • All Applications by Scale-up Workers English language requirement for Scale-up Worker. The applicant must show English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) of at least level B1.
    • If the applicant is applying for entry clearance, or has been in the UK for less than 12 months on the date of application, either:
      • the applicant must have funds of at least £1,270; or
      • if the applicant is applying as a sponsored applicant, the applicant’s A-rated sponsor must confirm on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they will, if necessary, maintain and accommodate the applicant up to the end of the first month of their employment, to an amount of at least £1,270.
    • An applicant must make an Unsponsored Application if they have been employed as a Scale-up Worker by a sponsor for at least 6 months in a previous permission on the Scale-up route and
      •  the applicant has permission as a Scale-up Worker on the date of application; or
      • the applicant last had permission as a Scale-up Worker and
        •  if the applicant is applying for entry clearance, that permission expired less than 6 months before the date of application; or
        • if the applicant is applying for permission to stay, paragraph 39E applies.

    Scale-up visa – Sponsored Application

    Scale- up sponsored route requirements:

    • The applicant must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) for the job they are planning to do.
    • The sponsor employer must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor the job in question under the Scale-up route.
    • The COS must confirm the applicant is expected to work for the Sponsor for at least the first 6 months of their permission.
    • The applicant must be sponsored for a job in an occupation code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations that is identified as eligible for the Scale-up route (i.e. graduate level, NQF Level 6 or above).
    • The salary for the job for which the applicant is being sponsored must equal or exceed all of the following:
      • £33,000 per year; and
      • £10.58 per hour; and
      • the going rate for the occupation code.
    • Salary only includes guaranteed basic gross pay (before income tax and including employee pension and national insurance contributions). Salary does not include other pay and benefits.
    • All Applications by Scale-up Workers English language requirement for Scale-up Worker. The applicant must show English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) of at least level B1.
    • If the applicant is applying for entry clearance, or has been in the UK for less than 12 months on the date of application, either:
      • (a)the applicant must have funds of at least £1,270; or
      • (b)if the applicant is applying as a sponsored applicant, the applicant’s A-rated sponsor must confirm on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they will, if necessary, maintain and accommodate the applicant up to the end of the first month of their employment, to an amount of at least £1,270.

    Scale-up visa – Unsponsored Application

    Requirements for Scale- up visa unsponsored application:

    • The applicant must have had monthly PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least 50% of their permission as a Scale-up Worker (for example, an applicant with 2 years’ permission as a Scale-up Worker must have had this level of earnings during at least 12 months of that permission).
    • For the purpose of meeting the salary requirement, periods of absence from work, in a job with PAYE earnings of at least £33,000 per year, for any of the following reasons will be treated as periods during which the applicant was paid the equivalent of at least £33,000 per year:
      •  statutory maternity, paternity, parental, or shared parental leave; or
      • statutory adoption leave; or
      • sick leave.
    • PAYE means the guaranteed basic gross pay (before income tax and including employee pension and national insurance contributions), recorded through PAYE. Earnings do not include other sources of income, such as any of the following:
      • earnings from self-employment; or
      • earnings from outside the UK; or
      • payments not recorded through PAYE; or
      • employer pension and employer national insurance contributions; or
      • income from savings, investments, property, inheritance, gambling or competitions
    • All Applications by Scale-up Workers English language requirement for Scale-up Worker. The applicant must show English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) of at least level B1.
    • If the applicant is applying for entry clearance, or has been in the UK for less than 12 months on the date of application, either:
      • the applicant must have funds of at least £1,270; or
      • if the applicant is applying as a sponsored applicant, the applicant’s A-rated sponsor must confirm on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they will, if necessary, maintain and accommodate the applicant up to the end of the first month of their employment, to an amount of at least £1,270.

    Period and conditions of grant for a Scale-up Worker

    If the applicant met the Sponsored Application requirements, they will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for 2 years and the grant will be subject to all the following conditions:

    (a) no access to public funds; and

    (b) for the first 6 months of their permission, the applicant must be employed in the job for which the applicant is being sponsored; and

    (c) in addition to (b), work (including self-employment and voluntary work) is permitted, except for work as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach); and

    (d) study is permitted, subject to the ATAS condition in Appendix ATAS; and

    (e) if Part 10 of these rules applies, the applicant will be required to register with the police.

    If the applicant met the Unsponsored Application requirements, they will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for 3 years and the grant will be subject to all the following conditions:

    (a) no access to public funds; and

    (b) work (including self-employment and voluntary work) is permitted, except for work as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach); and

    (c) study is permitted, subject to the ATAS condition in Appendix ATAS; and #

    (d) if Part 10 of these rules applies, the applicant will be required to register with the police.

    Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Settlement on the visa

    • The applicant must have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK.
    • The 5-year continuous period must consist of time with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes:
      • (a) Scale-up; or
      • (b) Skilled Worker; or
      • (c) Global Talent; or
      • (d) Innovator; or
      • (e) T2 Minister of Religion; or
      • (f) International Sportsperson; or
      • (g) Representative of an Overseas Business; or
      • (h) as a Tier 1 Migrant, other than Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).
    • The applicant must meet the continuous residence requirement as set out in Appendix Continuous Residence during the 5 year period relied on for ILR
    • The applicant must be in employment in the UK with a salary paid through PAYE of at least £33,000 per year, on the date of application.
    • The applicant must have had monthly PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least 24 months of the 3 years immediately before the date of application.
    • For the purpose of the calculation, periods of absence from work, in a job with PAYE earnings of at least £33,000 per year, for any of the following reasons will be treated as periods during which the applicant was paid the equivalent of at least £33,000 per year:
      • (a) statutory maternity, paternity, parental, or shared parental leave; or
      • (b) adoption leave; or
      • (c) sick leave.
    • Earnings only include guaranteed basic gross pay (before income tax and including employee pension and national insurance contributions), recorded through PAYE.
    • The applicant must meet the knowledge of Life in the UK requirement as set out in Appendix KOL UK.