As part of the visa application process, the visa applicant must in most cases attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to have their biometrics taken. The rule generally is that the application will not begin unless the biometrics data have been submitted.
Since May 2023, it is possible however to delay attending a VAC where it is deemed unsafe to do so. For this the applicant must contact the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to request that the latter predetermines the application before the biometrics is taken, or to excuse the applicant from the requirement to attend a VAC to enrol their biometrics and defer the requirement to enrol their biometrics on or after their arrival in the UK.
Before contacting the UKVI, the applicant must demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to complete their biometrics including:
Decision makers must consider all 4 criteria listed below and only agree to predetermine an application or excuse individuals from the requirement to attend a VAC to enrol their biometric information where they can demonstrate they meet all 4 criteria as follows:
Where an applicant is excused from attending a VAC for their biometrics, the individual must arrange for their identification documentation such as their passport to be sent to the VAC where they would normally attend.
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Scale-up Worker visa
Since 22 August 2022, fast-growing UK businesses can attract talents under the Scale-up visa route.
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.
To qualify for a Scale-up Worker visa the applicant must:
Duration of Stay
The migrant can potentially stay for a:
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.