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The Scale Up Visa – a new immigration route to help boost the UK economy

The aim of this new visa is to make it easier and quicker for UK businesses to recruit highly skilled individuals from a worldwide market to help facilitate rapid growth in their company.

This new visa route is intended to be used by highly skilled and qualified individuals, who have the required skill set to enable UK based companies going through the scale up growth phase to continue to  expand their business. It is anticipated that the launch of this new visa will help to boost the UK economy.

Like the Skilled Worker visa, the new route will be a points based route and will enable eligible companies with a sponsor licence to recruit individuals from overseas for specific roles in their business via this fast-track visa.

What is a scale up business?

Under the Home Office’s rules, for a business to be eligible as a Scale Up sponsor it must be able to show it has had an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous 3 years in terms of either turnover or staffing. It must also have had a minimum of 10 employees at the beginning of the 3 year period.

Businesses must be approved by the Home Office before they are able to sponsor a worker under this route. Details of the application process, fee and supporting documents required have not yet been published.

Who can be sponsored?

Scale up businesses can sponsor both existing or new recruits for this visa. The individual must:

  • be offered a genuine, high skilled sponsored job offer from an authorised UK scale up business. This offer must meet the required skill level
  • be paid at least £33,000pa or if higher the “going rate” for the role
  • meet the English language and financial requirements and
  • be aged 18 or over on the date of application

Benefits of the Scale Up visa

Once the visa has been granted, the individual has to work in the sponsored role for a minimum period of 6 months. After this initial period they are able to remain in the UK and work full time in a role of any skill level, meaning their continued stay in the UK will not be dependent on continued sponsorship from the scale up company. Further, they can move to be self-employed after the initial 6 months and provide their services as a consultant if they wish. This is expected to entice applicants to the UK and give them more freedom whilst here.

Scale Up visas will be granted for an initial period of two years. After the two year period, Scale Up visa holders will be able to apply to extend their visa for a further three years and unlike Skilled Worker visa holders, won’t require sponsorship to extend. Following a continuous period of five years in the UK an individual may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK provided they can demonstrate the appropriate level of financial stability along with adequate knowledge of life in the UK.

There is no immigration skills surcharge payable in respect of the Scale Up visa and therefore it is envisaged that this route will be faster and cheaper for eligible Companies to recruit from overseas.

Individuals who hold a valid Scale Up visa will be able to be joined in the UK by dependant family members and both the individual and their dependants will (if eligible for settlement) be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

If you have any queries about the new Scale Up visa please get in touch with one of our specialist immigration lawyers or access further information on our visa hub.

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