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Scale-Up visa UK

The Scale-up Worker visa offers UK Scale-Up companies a streamlined and efficient way to recruit the best overseas talent into their organisation.

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    What is a Scale-Up visa?

    The Scale-up Worker visa enables UK-based businesses to recruit highly skilled and talented migrant workers who have the skill set to allow a UK Scale Up business to thrive and grow rapidly.

    To access a Scale Up visa, the applicant must still obtain a job offer from a UK employer who holds a valid sponsor licence.

    The Scale Up visa will allow a more efficient way for rapidly growing scale-up companies to employ the very best overseas talent in their organisation.

    The biggest advantage of the new Scale-up Worker visa is that it is completely exempt from any immigration skills charge- meaning it is a cost-effective and streamlined way to recruit skilled workers from around the globe. As well as this, the Scale Up visa route is a new path to settlement in the United Kingdom.

    For more information on how Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can help you, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0121 667 6530.

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    What is a Scale Up business?

    The term scale-up business is used to define a business that is experiencing a rapid growth rate that has achieved commendable phases of success- typically, the organisation in question is ready to move to the next stage of commercial development in their business plan.

    A scale-up phase is often the most poignant stage in a business’s development and can often bring about a series of challenges to overcome.

    More and more scale-up companies in the UK have a high reliance on the recruitment of skilled overseas workers. The Scale Up visa will allow growing organisations in the UK to seek the high level of global talent that they need to move onto their next phase without the need to leave the country to acquire these skills.

    Who can apply for a Scale UP visa in the UK?

    The new Scale Up visa comes with a specific criterion that needs to be met to be a candidate for a visa.

    To qualify, an applicant must:

    • Be at least 18 years of age at the time of applying
    • Work a job at an appropriate skill level
    • Earn a salary meeting at least three of the following: a minimum of £33,000 per year, £10.58 per hour, and the going rate for their occupation code
    • Meet the minimum English language ability of level B1 in both speaking and listening
    • Must not have been in the UK for 12 months
    • Be able to support themselves when they arrive in the UK (had at least £1,270 in the bank for at least 28 days before applying)

    Is my business eligible?

    Scale-up businesses in the UK need to meet eligibility criteria to be able to sponsor an overseas worker. A UK business must be able to demonstrate that they have surpassed the following:

    • 3 years of annual average revenue
    • Steady employment growth of 20 per cent
    • At least ten regular employees at the start of the three years

    To sponsor a migrant worker under the Scale-Up route, the UK business must have an A-rated sponsor licence in place.

    Is a certificate of sponsorship required to apply for a Scale Up visa?

    To apply for a Scale Up visa, an applicant must show that they have a sponsored job in the UK, therefore, a certificate of sponsorship is required as evidence to show that the new UK employer has an approved sponsor licence to employ workers from this specific category of migrant workers.

    For a company to register as a Scale Up visa sponsor, they must show that their business meets the scale-up route criteria. In addition, they must receive an A-rated licence.

    When authorised, the company can issue a migrant worker with a certificate of sponsorship for 6 months in an occupation code with a minimum skill level of RFQ level 6. The CoS must have been issued no more than three months before the worker is due to begin working in the UK.

    A certificate of sponsorship needs to include:

    • Name, job role and salary paid
    • Confirmation that the migrant worker will work for the specified company for at least 6 months
    • Details of the proposed start date

    Minimum skill level required for a sponsored job in the UK

    To ensure you are given the best possible chance of being granted the Scale Up visa, you must ensure that the job offer you have been given meets the minimum skill level of RQF level 6 or is on the Home Office list of eligible jobs for the Scale Up visa becomes.

    If the job you are planning to work for appears on the list then it is likely that it automatically meets the minimum level of skill required to work in the United Kingdom.

    It is the responsibility of your employer to select the most appropriate occupation code for you. This must be done diligently as the Home Office are likely to refuse for Scale Up visa application if they have grounds to believe the job is not genuine.

    What is the main difference between a Scale Up visa and a Skilled Worker visa?

    There are many similarities between the new UK Scale Up visa and the existing Skilled Worker visa. Both UK works visa routes work under the points-based immigration system and an applicant must show that they can meet the minimum English language requirement. To access a Scale Up visa or a Skilled Worker visa, a sponsored job offer is required from a Home Office-approved UK employer.

    Minimum salary requirements for both visa types do differ slightly. The minimum required salary for a Scale-Up worker is higher at £33,000 annually, compared to the £25,600 minimum for a Skilled Worker visa applicant.

    A further difference is that a scale-up worker is not subjected to the Immigration Skills Charge, which makes it a cheaper alternative. Furthermore, it has been specified that a Scale Up visa application can be put under the fast track route and processed within just a few days. Typically, a Skilled Worker visa applicant is dealt with within three weeks. The Scale Up visa route offers an efficient way for a UK business to recruit and implement a scale-up worker into their organisation in as little as 72 hours.

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      How is the Scale-up visa route expected to operate in the UK?

      The operation of the new Scale Up visa is dissected into parts and each stage will take place over the length of time spent working in the UK.

      During the initial 6 months of residence in the UK, the Scale Up worker granted entry must remain working in the job they were sponsored for at the time of their application being approved. After this time, if they choose to do so, the migrant worker is able to switch to a different job or employer at their discretion.

      The Scale Up worker route is split into two stages of residency in the UK.

      Stage one

      The initial stage will take place as described above with the Scale Up worker being allowed to remain in the UK for two years after a successful application.

      Stage two

      Stage two takes place after the first two-year term is up. Afterwards, the scale-up worker is in something considered the unsponsored worker stage- where the worker can stay in the UK for a further 3-year period unsponsored. However, to do so, the scale-up worker must show that they have been earning at least £33,000 per annum during their time working in the UK.

      A continuous period of stay in the UK, typically, over 5 years, means that a scale-up worker would be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK after phase two of the Scale Up visa expires.

      Settlement in the UK with a Scale Up visa

      One major advantage of the new Scale Up visa is that it is to be considered a route to settlement in the UK.

      If you are a scale-up worker who has spent a continuous period of 5 years in the United Kingdom, then you may be eligible to submit an application for settlement. To be eligible, an applicant must meet the following eligibility requirements:

      • Meet life in the UK knowledge requirements by passing the Life in the UK test
      • Work for a UK employer
      • Earnings in the UK must be at least £34,600 per annum
      • Applicant must have had guaranteed basic gross pay earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £34,600

      If an applicant has brought family members with them to the United Kingdom on a Scale Up visa, any dependent partner or child must apply separately for settlement, provided that they too meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

      Conditions of stay

      If you are granted entry clearance into the United Kingdom on a UK Scale Up visa, you must meet the following conditions:

      • Remain working for your UK scale-up sponsor for the first 6 months of your time in the United Kingdom
      • You may not access state pensions or public funding (means tested benefits)
      • You may change employer or job once the first 6 month period has ended
      • You may study in the UK

      After 6 months you are no longer tied down to your sponsoring employer and you may sever ties to work at a new company or undertake voluntary work or self-employment. The Scale Up route offers a lot more freedom to a migrant worker in the UK.

      How can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers help?

      Our expert team of immigration lawyers are fully equipped to assist either a company or individual Scale Up visa applicants in applying for a UK Scale Up visa. From understanding the eligibility criteria to extending your stay with settlement, our team are experts in all things immigration and are ready and waiting to help you today.

      For more information on how we can help, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0121 667 6530.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  If you have leave to remain in the UK on another type of visa, you may be able to extend your stay by switching to the UK Scale Up visa.

                  You will not be able to switch to this visa if you are on a:

                  • Visitor visa
                  • Short-Term Student visa
                  • Parent of a Child Student visa
                  • Seasonal Worker visa
                  • Domestic Worker in a Private Household visa

                  Additionally, if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:

                  • You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
                  • The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
                  • You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months

                  Yes, the Scale Up visa route works under the points-based immigration system and both require an applicant to be in receipt of a certificate of sponsorship from a UK Home Office-approved employer.

                  A Scale Up visa holder is able to bring their partner and children to the UK provided that they are classed as a dependent partner or child. You can find the eligibility for a dependent family member’s visa applicant on the government website.