The Scale-up Visa route aims to provide high-growth companies greater flexibility and less friction in the application process so that they can attract talented individuals to come to work for them in the UK.
What is attractive with this new visa route is that a worker on a Scale-up visa can be sponsored for a minimum of 6 months and then become unsponsored thereafter (without even updating the Home Office), provided all the requirements are met. For the company sponsoring the worker on this route, this is financially beneficial as sponsorship is an expensive process. This route also leads to settlement after 5 years.
The general requirements are similar to the skilled worker route:
- The individual needs to be sponsored by a company who holds a Home Office sponsor licence;
- the job offered must be genuine;
- the job must be at an appropriate skill level; and
- the individual must be competent in the English language
The similarities stop there, and more stringent requirements are then applied:
- only eligible companies who hold a sponsor licence and have permission can sponsor an individual under the Scale-up visa route. Eligible companies must have:
i. an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous 3-year period based on either employment or turnover; and
ii. had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the relevant 3-year period
- the individual must be paid a minimum salary of £33,000 per year or £10.10 per hour the going-rate for the occupation (whichever is higher);
- the skill level must be at least RQF level 6 (graduate level or above);
- the job offered must be an occupation code that's listed as eligible for the Scale-up route in the Home Office Immigration Rules Appendix Skilled Occupations.
Time will tell whether this new route will be successful at attracting new talent to the UK.