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The new Scale-up Visa is an exciting development for UK employers. It hopes to allow those eligible the flexibility to bring in world-class talent and continue growth despite the overfishing of talent within the UK. Does introducing the Scale-up visa mean the scrabble for the best talent will ease? We can only hope. 

If you aren't sure what the UK scale-up visa is or how it might impact your business or yourself, read on for a snapshot of the basics and links to help you navigate the ins and outs.

The Basics: What is it?

The UK Scale Up Visa is a particular type of visa designed to help businesses expand their operations in the United Kingdom. It was put in place in August of this year and should allow eligible foreign nationals to come to the UK to work for a fast-growing UK business ( 'scale-up business') for at least six months.

As a UK employer considering taking advantage of the Scale-up visa, you must also meet specific eligibility criteria to sponsor scale-up workers.

What Are Scale-up Companies?

scale-up corporation or business is one that, in the three years before receiving Home office permission for a sponsor's licence, had:

  • At least ten people employed at the beginning of the three years.
  • Overall revenue or employment increased by 20% annually.

There are currently 34,000 estimated companies that fit the scale-up company definition.

Scale-up firms must appear on the recognised UK sponsors A-rated list to receive a Certificate of Sponsorship.

UK Scale-up Visa Requirements

What does the Scale-up Visa require? The list is not necessarily as long as you may think:

  • Get a job offer from a scale-up business lasting longer than six months
  • Have a certificate of sponsorship
  • Get a job on the list of eligible occupations
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements of £33,000 per year or £10.10 per hour. 
  • Meet the English-speaking requirements
  • Have sufficient funds to support yourself

Minimum Salary Requirements

As far as salary requirements go, you have to earn a minimum amount each year to qualify for the visa. The requirements are either:

  • £33,000 per a year
  • £10.10 per hour
  • Or the going rate for that job

Scale-up Visa or Skilled Workers Visa?

The Home Office's points-based immigration system (PBS) applies to both visas, and both call for a sponsored work offer from a UK business. Scale-up visa holders, however, can choose to go to a new job or employer after six months and are no longer required to be sponsored, whereas skilled worker visa holders must remain sponsored for the duration.

In addition, the Scale-Up visa's income threshold is more significant at £33,000 than the Skilled Worker visa's minimum of £25,600. Candidates for both visas must also meet English language criteria.

Scale-up Visa English Requirements

To meet the English requirements, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Come from an eligible country
  • Obtain a degree or higher taught degree in English
  • Have a school level qualification gained by studying at a UK school under the age of 18
  • Pass an approved English test

Scale-up Visa Costs to Consider

  • The fee itself is £715 per applicant (each eligible family member will need to pay this too )
  • The surcharge for healthcare is normally about £624 per year.
  • The cost of set up for when you arrive, unless you qualify for an exemption. Evidenced by having at least £1270 in the bank account.
  • The cost of supporting a family. Again this is evidenced by additional money in the bank on top of the original £1270. 
      • £285 for your partner
      • £315 for one child
      • £200 for each additional child

How Can We Help? 

As a UK business working with us, let us know if you meet the eligibility criteria as a 'scale-up' and whether you would want to sponsor a scale-up worker. It might increase the pool of talent significantly thanks to our international relationships with some very talented workers. 

As a foreign national with the correct skills, the scale-up visa might be a great option for your next job move to the UK. Let us know your circumstances and we will always endeavour to help and signpost you in the right direction.

Do you qualify for a UK scale-up visa? Not sure where to find a job to make this happen? Go to our jobs page and discover some of the best jobs for your scale-up visa today!

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