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The Scale-up Visa

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

The scale up visa is a new UK Immigration route for talented individuals recruited by a UK Scale-up Sponsor who have necessarily skill to enable the Scale up business to continue growing. The route is due to open to application on 22 August 2022

The person who applies to stay in the UK under this route must have a high-skilled job offer from a qualifying Scale up business at required salary level. This route also allows the applicant to lead to settlement after 5 years in the UK as well as a dependent partner and dependent children can apply on this route.

Scale-up Sponsored Licence for UK employer

To qualify as Scale up company to obtain a sponsor licence under Scale up route, the UK employer will need to demonstrate they have had an annualised growth of at least 20% for previous three-year period in turnover or staff and the companies will also need to have had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the three years period

Immigration Skills Charge Requirement

The Scale-up sponsor are not required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge


There are two types of scale-up visa application which are the Sponsored route and the unsponsored route.

The Sponsored route for Scale-up visa

The Sponsored route has similarities to high skilled visa as both are needed to have sponsor licences for the businesses before the business allows to sponsor overseas worker.

The Sponsorship requirement for Sponsored Application

  • The sponsored company must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor the job under the Scale up route (Sponsored Licence), and able to assign a certificate of sponsorship to the applicant under Scale up visa route. The sponsor licence to sponsor skilled worker or temporary workers or senior or specialist worker is not sufficient in this route

  • An applicant must be aged at 18 or over

  • The applicant must have been offered a job at am appropriate skill level for scale up visa. The skill level is RQF 6 (graduate level) and the job must be listed on Home Office job occupation guidance

  • The applicant must meet the minimum salary threshold at least £33.00 gross per year, £10.58 per hour and the going rate for the occupation code whichever is higher

  • The applicant must satisfy English requirement through sitting in one of the approval tests centres unless you have s qualifying or come from a listed English-speaking country

  • For applicant who apply outside the UK must has a valid TB certificate. (This is only required if applicant applies from one of the listed countries)

Unsponsored application for Scale-up visa

This is an unsponsored route that applicant can work and change any job without relying on the same sponsored company. In order to meet the requirements for unsponsored application for Scale-up visa, the applicant must satisfy UKVI that:

  • They have previously been granted entry clearance as a scale-up worker visa

  • Meet English requirement of CEFR at least level B1 unless you have an English qualification or come from one of the listed English-speaking countries

  • You have sufficient maintenance fund without relying on public funds

  • The applicant must have had monthly PAYE earnings in the UK at least £33,000 per year during at least 50 % of their permission as a Scale-up worker visa

Duration of a Scale-up visa

If you have been granted a Scale-up worker visa on Sponsored Application, you will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK for a period of 2 years. You will allow to extend your stay after the visa is due to expire.

If you have been granted a Scale-up visa on unsponsored application, you will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for a period of 3 years.

Eligibility requirements for settlement as a Scale-up visa

To qualify for settlement as a Scale-up visa, you will have to satisfy UKVI that

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK

  • The 5 years continuous period must consist of time with permission on any following; Scale-up, Skilled Worker, Global Talent, Innovator. T2 Minister of Religion, International Sportsperson, Representative of an Overseas Business, Tier 1 Migrant

  • Pass the Life In UK test unless an exemption applies

  • You must be in employment in the UK with a salary paid by PAYE of at least £33,000 per year during at least 24 months of 3 years immediately before the date of application

  • For the purpose of calculation period of absence from work due to statutory maternity, paternity, parental or shared parental leave or adoption leave or sick leave , you will be treated as period during which the applicant was paid the equivalent of at least £33,000

How Alstern can help?

Immigration laws and rules are constantly changing at all times. This is important to get the latest information. Our Immigration lawyers have years of experience in Sponsor licence applications for UK employers and even dealing with complex applications with a high success rate. We follow up the changes of immigration law and rules that ensure every single sponsor licence application meet the latest requirements from the Home Office. For more information, please contact us on 020 3923 9188 or email


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