The scale-up visa route is intended for talented individuals whose skills are considered to be helpful for the expansion of a qualifying scale-up business in the UK.
Scale-up businesses in the UK are those which have grown by 20% on average within the 3-year period before they were approved by the Home Office to sponsor scale-up workers. They should also have at least 10 employees at the start of that period.
These fast-growing companies can recruit and sponsor professionals from abroad to do an eligible, high-skilled job in the UK. Professionals can then live and work in the UK for 2 years before they need to renew their visas.
To apply for the scale-up worker visa route, foreign talented individuals must have a confirmed job offer from an approved UK scale-up business.
The job offer must extend to a minimum of 6 months. It must be for an eligible occupation with a valid, 4-digit occupation code, which a sponsor —an authority of the UK scale-up business interested in the foreign professional— should include in a Certificate of Sponsorship, a document that confirms the recruitment and provides specific information about the job.
There is also a salary requirement. In his or her new job, the scale-up worker from abroad can’t earn less than £33,000 per year, £10.10 per hour, or the going rate for their occupation code.
Applicants for the scale-up worker visa must do the job that they’ve been sponsored to do within 6 months after being granted permission to stay in the UK.
They can also do other jobs, such as voluntary work or resort to self-employment, except for work as a professional sportsperson (including sports coach). Study is also permitted.
However, the applicant can’t have access to public funds in any case.
Applicants must have a level of English equivalent to B1 in the areas of reading, listening, writing, and speaking. They can prove this knowledge by taking a Secure English Language Test at a Secure English Language Test center approved by the Secretary of State.
Applicants can be exempt from taking this test if they have a degree taught in English or if they come from a majority English speaking country: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or the USA.
Applicants for the scale-up worker visa must pay:
Moreover, they must show that they have enough personal savings to support themselves while in the UK. The minimum is £1,270. These funds must have been available in the applicants’ bank accounts for at least 28 days in a row before their application.
This is not necessary if the scale-up worker’s sponsor is willing to cover his or her costs for the first month that they will be in the UK. However, sponsors can only cover up to £1,270, according to the UK’s immigration rules.
Application for the scale-up visa route must be done online up to 3 months before the day on which applicants should be starting work in the UK. This date is stated in the Certificate of Sponsorship.
Applicants must prove their identity in different ways according to what type of passport they have. Usually, applicants will have to either attend a visa application center to provide biometric information (such as fingerprints and photographs) or scan their identity documents in the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app. A UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account is required for this.
Applicants for the scale-up worker visa route will need:
Applicants can bring their family members to the UK as long as they submit their own applications and pay their own application fees. They should also have their own personal savings:
Another option is to have the applicant’s sponsor cover the family’s costs for one month. They must clarify this in the Certificate of Sponsorship.
All family members will be linked to the main applicant through his or her Global Web Form (GWF) or Unique Application Number (UAN), an application number that can be found in the main applicant’s emails or letters from the Home Office.
Proof of relationship may be required.
Scale-up workers can apply online to extend their visa before its expiration, provided that:
Scale-up workers who want to extend their scale-up worker visa do not need to submit a new Certificate of Sponsorship, but they must pay the application fees and prove their identity in order to renew their visa.
Individuals who meet the requirements to obtain a scale-up worker visa can apply for it from the UK, provided that they are not there:
If that’s the case, they must leave the UK and try to apply for the scale-up worker visa from abroad.
Anyone who has applied for the scale-up worker visa online and proved their identity and nationality can expect to receive a decision in 3 weeks if they’re outside the UK, or 8 weeks, if they’re inside the UK.
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