Scale-up Worker visa

Since 22 August 2022, fast-growing UK businesses can attract talents under the Scale-up visa route.

Definition

A fast-growing or scale-up business is a high-growth company that has:

This definition seems in line with that of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD defines high-growth enterprises as ‘All enterprises with average annualised growth greater than 20% per annum, over a three-year period should be considered as high-growth enterprises. Growth can be measured by the number of employees or by turnover.’

A Scale-up Worker visa will allow a visa national to come and perform an eligible job for a fast-growing company.

Requirements

To qualify for a Scale-up Worker visa the applicant must:

Duration of Stay

The migrant can potentially stay for a:

  1. Sponsored stage of 2 years
  2. Unsponsored stage of 3 years

It is interesting to note that although the initial visa lasts for two years, the applicant must work for the specified sponsor for only the first six months. 

This is a welcomed option to the sponsor as after 6 months, the administrative duties imposed on the sponsor is lessened and there is no Immigration Skills Charge which represents a considerable saving to the employer.

For the employee, he or she enjoys some flexibility as to where he or she can work.

Becoming a Scale-up Sponsor

You will have to go through the normal process of applying for a Sponsorship Licence and the Sponsors who hold a general sponsor licence will need to add the scale-up option to their licence. When applying the Home Office will check the HMRC data directly and it is therefore important that the companies HMRC’s records are up to date.

Unlike the general licence, the scale-up licence cannot be renewed beyond the four years.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

After 5 years of continuous stay under the Scale-up Worker visa you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK and apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain.

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