UK Scale Up Visa Requirements and Application Guidance

uk scale up visa
UK visa application guidance

WestBridge helps you navigate the complexities of the UK Scale Up visa application through legal consultation from experienced immigration lawyers to improve your success rate.

uk scale up visa
UK visa application guidance
UK Scale Up

Worker Visa Application Help

You can come to the UK and work for a fast-growing UK company under the Scale Up worker visa route. We at WestBridge Business Immigration, are here to help you every step of the way. The Scale Up worker visa process can be lengthy and very confusing.

Moreover, if the Home Office rejects your application, it causes issues for you and your new UK based employer. Our qualified lawyers are experts in UK visas, citizenship and immigration.

  • We take on the day to day management of your case.
  • We advise and walk you through the application process at every step
  • We can help you navigate through the complex application process
  • We prioritize full transparency in our work

Get started with a quick and simple Scale Up worker visa application procedure by contacting us immediately. Our immigration attorneys are prepared to offer you the support you require.

What is the UK Scale UP Visa?

The UK Scale Up worker visa allows high-potential candidates to come and work in the UK for a fast-growing UK business. You must apply for a job that meets the skill level and required salary.

Moreover, you will also need to be sponsored by an eligible employer in the UK. Companies that can sponsor applicants to come and work in the UK under this visa are known as scale-up businesses. In addition, you can also bring your partner or children as your dependents.

This visa has many benefits. One of the biggest is that it can lead to settlement in the UK after 5 years, this is known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). 

The application process can sometimes be quite complex. The required documents, salary, financial and job offer requirements can be slightly complex for some.

We at WestBridge Business Immigration are immigration experts, and can assist you with your Scale Up worker visa application. In this guide, you will know what is required to apply for a UK Scale Up worker visa.

What Are Scale Up Businesses?

Scale up businesses are fast-growing businesses that need highly skilled individuals for their growth and business operations. These businesses are eligible to sponsor candidates from outside the UK to come and work under the Scale Up worker visa route.

You must be sponsored by an eligible business to be able to apply for this visa type. However, you will not need a new sponsorship document (called a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)) for your renewal.

Requirements for the UK Scale Up Worker Visa

Before applying, you must understand the UK Scale-up worker visa requirements. Although not all of it is complex, there are some little nuances that can make it confusing for some. 

Initial Application – Sponsorship Required

If you are applying for this visa for the first time, you must apply as a sponsored candidate. 

Here are the requirements:

  • You are aged 18 years old or above
  • You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the employer you will be working for
  • The job you are hired for is at the appropriate skill level
  • The job is genuine and will be sponsored for at least six months
  • Your salary will exceed or be equal to both £34,600 annually and the `going rate` of occupation code
  • You can maintain yourself in the UK without needing assistance from the public funds
  • You meet the English language requirement to level B1 CEFR
  • You have a valid TB test (if applicable)

Extending Your Visa – No Sponsorship Document Required

If you wish to apply for the Scale Up worker visa in the UK as an unsponsored candidate, you must have been granted a visa as Scale Up worker previously and meet the salary requirements

The requirements are that you: 

  • You are aged 18 years old or above
  • You have already been granted a Scale Up worker visa on your previous grant of leave
  • You have enough money to support yourself in the UK without needing assistance from the public funds
  • You meet the earning requirement for at least 50% of your leave in the UK – i.e. you earned the going rate or £34,600 per annum for the first year of your leave, whichever is higher. All earnings must be via Pay As You Earn (PAYE), self employment will not be considered.
  • You meet the English language requirement to level B1 CEFR

Some of these requirements will be discussed and broken down in more detail below. 

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a UK Scale Up Worker Visa?

All candidates applying for the Scale Up worker visa need to provide the relevant documents relating to their financial status, job details, sponsorship, English language and ID evidence. 

The Home Office will not accept your visa application without the correct documents. 

Here are the primary documents you will need to provide:

  • A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) containing all the details about your role in the UK
  • Valid passport that shows proof of your identity, date of birth and nationality
  • Evidence of meeting the maintenance requirement
  • Evidence of meeting English language requirement

Are There Any Other Documents Required?

This depends on your circumstances, but the Home Office may ask for TB tests, evidence of your relationship to your dependents.

What are the Benefits of the Scale Up Worker Visa?

The UK Scale Up worker visa has many benefits for candidates. All the benefits and perks are designed to attract high-potential and talented workers into the UK from overseas and make it easier for them to stay in the UK. Here are some benefits of the Scale Up worker visa.

Path to Settlement in the UK

The Scale Up worker visa allows a candidate to settle permanently in the UK by applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years..

There are different eligibility requirements to apply for an ILR. 

Option to Bring Your Partner And/or Children with You as Your Dependents

Your partner and/or children can accompany you to the UK as your dependents. However, they will need to apply for the visa individually. If eligible, your family can also apply to settle in the UK after 5 years.

Employer Flexibility

The Scale Up worker visa is very flexible in terms of the employer. Your immigration status will not always depend on your original sponsor or employer. You must have a sponsored job at the required skill level and salary for at least the first six months of your leave.

After the initial two years, you can stay and work in the UK for three additional years without any sponsorship before being able to apply for settlement. Even if you are not eligible to settle in the UK, you can continue to extend your stay for three years at a time, for an unlimited period of time.

New joiners can also leave their job after just six months. After that, they can seek alternative work, provide additional services or even be self-employed without a sponsor.

What Jobs Are Eligible for the UK Scale Up Worker Visa?

Since the Scale Up worker visa route is for highly skilled jobs and candidates, not all job offers from the UK are eligible. You will need an eligible sponsor, one that is considered a scale-up company with a genuine role at the appropriate skill level.

The minimum skill level your job must satisfy is RQF Level 6 or higher. The Home Office provides a list of eligible jobs for this visa. All roles in the UK are linked to a particular job code, called a Standard Occupational Classification code (SOC code). This links roles based on their job descriptions so individuals with different job titles can be on the same code. It also allows the Home Office to differentiate salary requirements for roles.

If the Home Office suspects that your offer was fraudulent and only made as a way for you to apply for the Scale Up worker visa, your application will be rejected immediately. 

It means that you must be primarily working for your sponsor in the UK for at least the first six months. If you leave in the first six months, you need to apply to change your sponsor. You must have a role at the relevant skill level with an approved Scale Up sponsor to switch sponsors in the first six months.

UK Scale Up Worker Visa Duration

The Scale Up worker visa is granted in two phases. You have an initial sponsored phase and a second unsponsored phase where you do not need a sponsor. When you first apply for the visa, and after it is granted, you will be able to stay in the UK for two years initially.

The second phase allows candidates with a Scale Up worker visa to stay and work in the UK for another three years. You do not need to be sponsored at this stage. However, you must meet the earnings requirement. 

After spending five years continuously in the UK under the Scale Up worker visa route, you can apply to settle permanently in the UK. 

What Are Certificates of Sponsorship?

Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) are electronic records all sponsors in the UK need to issue for any worker they want to hire from outside the UK, or those inside the UK that require sponsorship. It is one of the most important documents for your UK Scale Up worker visa application.

This means you cannot submit your application before you get your Certification of Sponsorship from your sponsor. Remember that you will not apply for a Certification of Sponsorship – your employer will need to send it to you.

When an eligible UK Scale Up business offers you a job, they will give you a Certificate of Sponsorship that will have important information you will need for the Scale Up worker visa application form.

Financial Requirements for the UK Scale Up Worker Visa

Apart from the salary and earning requirement, the Scale Up worker visa also requires candidates to fulfill certain maintenance requirements, unless their sponsor has confirmed on their CoS that they will maintain them for the first month of their visa (if required). Applicants need to show cash savings of at least £1,270 held for 28 consecutive days, ending not more than 31 days after your visa application is submitted online. 

What Is the Minimum Salary Threshold for the Scale up Worker Visa?

The minimum salary/ earnings requirement for the Scale Up worker visa is at least £34,600 annually, or your SOC codes mentioned “going rate” whichever is higher.

As stated above, if you are extending in the UK, you must meet this salary requirement for at least 50% of the time you were granted your initial leave under the Scale Up worker visa. 

Moreover, the Home Office will not consider any income from self-employment or income outside the UK towards your £34,600 requirements. Only earnings you receive through the UK-based PAYE are eligible.

Periods of reduced salary due to being paid the statutory maternity, paternity, parental, adoption and sick leave, will be considered to automatically meet the earnings requirement.

What Is the English Language Requirement for a Scale up Worker Visa?

Candidates applying for the Scale Up worker visa will also need to demonstrate a sufficient level of English language proficiency of at least level B1. This is an intermediate level of English language proficiency.

You will need to demonstrate your English proficiency in 4 components. The components are reading, writing, listening and speaking. 

However, in some cases, this English language proficiency test is waived for certain applicants. 

Applicants can meet the English Language requirement:

  • If you are a national of a majority English-speaking nation
  • If you have a degree that was primarily taught in English (ECCTIS may also be required)
  • If you already met the Level B1 requirement in your previous application 
  • If you have a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English Language or English literature
  • If you passed a secure English language test to the required level

Can You Bring Dependents with You?

Scale Up worker visa holders can also bring their dependents. 

You may bring your partner that is over 18 and also children that are under 18 years old. Children over the age of 18 may also be able to extend their visa in the UK as your dependent, provided they came to the UK as your dependent previously. 

However, your dependents will also need to meet the eligibility criteria. They need to meet the relationship and maintenance requirements. The maintenance requirements for a partner are £285 and £315 for the first child, and after the first child you need to hold an additional £200 for each additional child. This needs to be held in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days.

Fees for the Scale Up Worker Visa

There are certain Scale Up worker visa fees associated with the application process. Each visa costs £715 per applicant, and each applicant needs to also pay the  immigration health charge of £624 every year you stay in the UK (for under 18s this is £470 per year). 

How to Apply for the UK Scale Up Worker Visa?

Applying for the UK Scale Up worker visa is pretty straightforward. Whether you are already in the UK or outside, you will need to apply for this visa online. During your application process, you will be required to submit supporting documents.

The supporting documents include financial statements, IDs, job details and your Certificate of Sponsorship. The Certificate of Sponsorship is particularly important. Remember to keep all the important documents ready and at hand when applying for the Scale Up worker visa.

Apart from the documents, you might need to visit your nearest visa application centre to provide your biometric information, such as your photograph and fingerprints. 

If you are applying to extend your Scale Up worker visa from within the UK you must currently hold a scale up visa to extend your visa.

At WestBridge Business Immigration, we understand that the whole process can be confusing. Our expert immigration lawyers are here to help you navigate the legal nuances of applying for the Scale Up worker visa.

Can You Switch to the Scale Up Worker Visa?

If you are already in the UK under a different visa or another immigration category, you can switch to the Scale Up worker visa. Switching to this visa can also extend your stay in the UK. However, not all visas are eligible to switch to this visa.

For example, if you are in the UK on a visitor visa, short-term student or parent of a child student visa, you cannot apply to switch to the Scale Up worker visa. 

Does the Scale Up Worker Visa Lead To Settlement?

After you have spent five continuous years in the UK, you can apply for settlement in the UK. 

You will need to meet a number of requirements, including:

  • Spend continuous five years in the UK on a visa that leaves to settlement after five years in the UK;
  • Your salary paid through the UK-based PAYE is at least £34,600 annually or the relevant “going rate”.
  • Your PAYE monthly salary should amount to at least £34,600 annually for 24 months straight in the last three years.
  • You need to pass the Life in the UK test and the English Language requirement (unless not required).

Remember that other sources of income are not counted towards the earnings requirement of £34,600.

How Can WestBridge Business Immigration Help?

At WestBridge Business Immigration, we assume complete responsibility for your Scale Up worker visa application. As seasoned immigration and visa experts, who can assist you with your Scale Up worker visa.

We understand the UK Scale Up worker visa process can be daunting. That is why we are here to help you every step of the way.

Our services encompass advising on supporting documents, drafting application submissions and cover letters, liaising with the Home Office on your behalf, and providing overall support for your application.

Moreover, our expert lawyers are available to offer guidance and support throughout the entry clearance and extension processes. We offer transparent fixed fees with no unexpected charges.

We assign every client a senior associate who offers personalised assistance and ensures a comprehensive hand-holding service.

Additionally, we value our client’s time and prioritise rapid response times. We aim to respond to emails and phone messages within one business day, guaranteeing a premium level of service.

Scale Up Visa

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is the Scale Up Worker Visa the Same as the Skilled Worker Visa?

No, the Scale Up worker visa differs from the Skilled Worker visa. While both are work visas and need the job to be of a certain skill, you need to be sponsored by a scale-up company and have a higher skilled role and higher salary for the Scale Up worker visa.

Q. Can I Work under the Scale Up Worker Visa?

Yes, the Scale Up worker visa is primarily a work visa. Moreover, after the initial 6 months, you are no longer tied to your original sponsor. You can also study after this period. However, you must maintain an annual income of £34,600 through PAYE.

Q. Can Anyone Apply for the Scale Up Worker Visa?

Only candidates that satisfy the required skill level and are sponsored by a scale up business in the UK can apply for the Scale Up worker visa. Moreover, you must meet the English language requirement.

Q. How Long Does Settling in the UK under the Scale Up Worker Visa Take?

The UK Scale Up worker visa does guarantee settlement in the UK. You must live in the UK for five years and meet all the eligibility requirements. 

Q. Is There an Immigration Skills Charge for This Visa?

There is no immigration skill charge for the UK Scale Up worker visa for skilled workers. Unlike other visa routes, your sponsor does not need to pay the expensive Immigration Skills Charge.

Q. How Will I Know My Job Qualifies for the Required Skill Level?

The minimum skill level required for the Scale Up worker visa is at least RQF Level 6 or higher. You can check the Home Office’s list of eligible jobs. Each job has a job code for you to easily identify which is which. 

Q. Did the Home Office Change the Minimum Salary Requirement for the Scale Up Worker Visa?

Yes, the Home Office increased the minimum salary requirement for the Scale Up worker visa from £33,000 to £34,600 in April 2023.

Q. Can I Start My Own Business in the UK?

You can come to the UK and start a business only if you have a relevant business that allows you to do that. You must remain paid by PAYEE, earning from self-employment will not be taken into account when you extend your visa and apply for settlement.

Q. Am I Tied to My Employer for Five Years?

No, you can leave your sponsor at any time, however, if you have held your job in the UK for less than 6 months you must seek approval from the Home Office to change sponsors. After you have worked for 6 months, you do not need to update the Home Office and you can change employers.

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