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Scale Up Visa

Helping you secure a scale-up visa with a fast-growing business in the UK

The Scale-up visa allows highly talented individuals from the overseas market to come work in the UK with a fast-growing business. The individual will assist the Scale-up business to continue growing. In order for a business to sponsor an individual for a Scale-up visa, they will need to provide a job offer in a highly-skilled role to the individual.  

The first step in securing this visa will be for the business to secure a Scale-up business licence. The UK business will need to demonstrate annualised growth of at least 20% for the preceding 3-year period. This will be measured in terms of turnover or staffing. There must be at least 10 employees at the start of the 3rd year, we have specialist teams who can provide you with all the support you need for your business in the UK, including corporate support, pensions, HR specialists, commercial and contract lawyers, risk management specialists and tax advisors.

The Scale-up visa route offers both a sponsored application route and an unsponsored application route. If the individual will be making an initial application for a Scale-up visa, they will need to make a sponsored application. Individual’s who have already been granted permission as a Scale-up worker can extend their permission under the unsponsored application route.

There are strict requirements which an applicant will need to meet in order to successfully obtain a Scale-up visa. For the sponsored application the applicant will need to demonstrate that they have:

  • received a highly skilled job offer from a Scale-up sponsor;
  • been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship by the qualifying Scale-up sponsor for the job they are planning to do;
  • been offered a job which is genuine and at an appropriate skill level;
  • been offered a salary at the required level;
  • satisfied the English language requirement; and
  • provided a valid TB certificate, if required.

For the unsponsored application the applicant will need to demonstrate that they have:

  • been previously granted permission as a Scale-up worker;
  • been in receipt of monthly PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £36,300 for a period of at least 50% of your most recent grant of permission as a Scale-up worker. Lower rates apply in certain circumstances. The team at Freeths can advise accordinly;
  • satisfied the English language requirement; and
  • provided a valid TB certificate, if required.

Under the Scale-up visa route, family members may be able to enter the UK with the Scale-up visa holder or can join them at a later date. Our immigration team at Freeths will be able to advise whether family members of the Scale-up visa holder are eligible to make an application.

Length and conditions of grant

Under the sponsored application route, the Scale-up visa holder will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK for a period of 2 years. After 2 years, the Scale-up visa holder can make an unsponsored application.

Under the unsponsored application route, the Scale-up visa holder will granted entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK for a period of 3 years.  

The Scale-up visa holder when granted a visa under the sponsored route will need to be employed in the job they are sponsored for an initial period of 6 months. After this initial 6-month period, the Scale-up visa holder is no longer tied by the original sponsoring employer and can either continue their employment with them without being sponsored or can undertake additional or alternative work without being sponsored. The benefit for the Scale-up business is that you are only required to comply with the Home Office’s sponsorship and reporting duties for the first 6-months of the visa grant, meaning the route is less onerous for the sponsoring business.

Under the unsponsored application route, the Scale-up visa holder has a full right to work from the outset and is not tied to a sponsoring employer.

How can Freeths help?

Our team of business immigration experts have a vast amount of knowledge and expertise to aid talented individuals in securing a Scale-up visa who have received a highly skilled job offer from a qualifying UK Scale-up business. Our immigration specialists will ensure that they help you every step of the way in navigating through the complex immigration system. They will assist the fast-growing business within the UK to secure the correct sponsor licence and maintain their sponsor licence at the highest rating.

Our immigration specialists can also assist the applicant in securing a visa to enable them to achieve their start date of employment and begin the progression of their career in the UK.

Our fees are transparent. We offer a fair pricing structure which will be agreed with you at the outset.

We offer integration with broader legal services such as our commercial and corporate teams who will help you to set up your business, our real estate team who will meet your property requirements, our specialist IP and tech teams can assist in protecting your intellectual property and our specialist employment and pensions teams who will assist with all your HR requirements.

If you require legal assistance or would just like to discuss your situation with one of our experts, please contact our immigration team.

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