A UK Scale-up Worker visa is a relatively new visa route. “Scale-up” refers to a fast-growing British company that has to look outside the domestic labour market to keep growing.
A UK Scale-up visa is designed to facilitate the employment of foreign specialists. It is not only beneficial to UK employers but to foreign employees too.
Like other UK visas, a UK Scale-up visa has specific requirements for both foreign workers and their British employers.
To get a UK Scale-up Worker visa, you must:
Apart from the special requirements listed above, there are some general ones too. The Rules require that the applicant must:
You must also include your negative tuberculosis test results if you have lived in a listed country for the last few months.
To qualify for a UK Scale-up Worker visa, you must have at least a B1 level of English under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
It means that you must speak and understand English well enough to talk about your professional and personal life. You do not have to speak like a native person, but you must demonstrate that no misunderstanding could interfere with your professional activities in the UK.
You can prove your knowledge of English by passing a special test or providing a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English by a university or a college approved by the UK government.
Nationals of 17 former British colonies do not have to prove their knowledge of English. They include Caribbean jurisdictions that offer citizenship by investment programs.
To qualify as a scale-up business, a UK-based company must meet several criteria determined by the Home Office. If a UK employer wants to hire foreign specialists, they must obtain a sponsorship licence.
A sponsorship licence gives a UK company the right to employ foreigners and issue certificates of sponsorship. Besides, they will be responsible for the invited specialists and must monitor their attendance and comply with the salary requirements. All licensed sponsors are listed in the Register of licensed sponsors published on the official government website.
A business is considered scale-up and allowed to employ specialists from outside the UK if it complies with two requirements:
To obtain a UK visa, a foreign employee needs a certificate of sponsorship; it is an electronic record from an online register. Assigning a certificate of sponsorship to a foreign worker means that:
British sponsors usually know the Rules and would only employ foreign specialists when it is a job listed among eligible occupations.
At the same time, a sponsored applicant applying for a UK Scale-up Worker visa must also do their research and check what job they will do in the UK, what is their occupation code and whether their job is among eligible occupations. Therefore, before you include a certificate of sponsorship in your application, make sure that your job qualifies.
You can either find the best job for you to relocate to the UK on a UK Scale-up visa route on your own or get in touch with our experienced immigration advisors.
There are several ways to calculate a salary of a foreign worker employed by a scale-up UK company:
The minimum annual rate for a foreign employee
£33,000 per year
The hourly rate
£10.10 per hour
The ‘going rate’ for eligible occupations
According to the table of eligible occupations
A foreign worker will be paid whichever is the highest out of the options above.
For example, a growing London company needs a procurement manager. The usual salary for this job does not exceed £36,000 per year before tax. If they want to employ a foreigner, they will have to raise the salary to at least £39,300, which is the going rate for procurement managers.
There are two amounts to keep in mind when applying for a UK Scale-up visa:
The application fee is £715. If you want to bring your family with you, you will have to pay extra for each dependant. If the Home Office does not grant you a visa, you will not get this fee back. Another cost is a healthcare surcharge; it is £624 for each year of your stay, and the total amount must be paid at the time of application.
If you apply for a UK Scale-up Worker visa from outside the UK, you will also be charged for having your photograph and fingerprints taken at a UK visa application centre.
You will also need to prove that you have enough savings to support yourself when you arrive in the UK. You must have the equivalent of £1,270 at the current exchange rate on your bank account. The money must be deposited at least 28 days before applying for a UK Scale-up Worker visa. If you want to bring your family with you, you must have additional funds to support them. For further information, please contact our immigration advisors.
You can apply to extend your UK Scale-up visa after two years if both of the following are true:
You cannot stay in the UK on the same visa if you do not work for your sponsor for a minimum of six months, so the key extension criterium is your earnings. You must earn over £33,000 per year for at least half of your stay in the UK on a UK Scale-up Worker visa.
Since you must be in the UK to apply to extend your UK Scale-up visa, you will get a decision within 8 weeks. Therefore, allow two to three months for the whole visa extension process or be ready to pay for a fast-track option.
You can try to get a UK visa yourself, but if don’t have experience in immigration matters, you might get a visa refusal. This can be due to errors in your application form, incorrect paperwork, missing information, or unreliable sponsors.
With Imperial & Legal’s guidance, you will save time and money. Our immigration advisors are regulated and will help you resolve all your issues. That is especially important for first-time applicants whose work and life in the UK are at stake. The standard process of applying for a UK Scale-up Worker visa includes four steps.
Mandatory documents for a UK Scale-up visa include a passport, evidence that you have enough funds to support yourself, sometimes a criminal record certificate, tuberculosis test results, etc.
This immigration route is for those who come to the UK to work, so you must also provide the following with your visa application:
If your job involves researching a sensitive subject and, from your sponsor’s point of view, requires a high level of preparation, you will need a valid ATAS (the Academic Technology Approval Scheme) certificate.
Yes, you can. An applicant for a UK Scale-up Worker visa does not have to show £1,270 in their bank if one of the following is true:
If your British sponsor is going to support you until you get your first salary, the ‘Additional data’ section on your certificate of sponsorship must contain this information.
Although you can leave your sponsored job after you have worked for your sponsor for six months and start another job, your earnings during at least half of your stay in the UK must be equal to or over £33,000 per year. Note that this only includes salary with the necessary tax payments and not your self-employment income.
If you have worked in two jobs in the UK, you must report your additional income. However, it will not count toward the earnings requirement. £33,000 per year must be your income from one of the jobs.
We are OISC regulated immigration lawyers making applications on behalf of our clients for many years. Get in touch today to start your application.
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