Discover how the Scale-Up Visa can enhance your professional journey. Our guide covers everything you need for a successful application.

Scale-Up Visa

Do you have great professional skills and are you looking for thrilling opportunities in the UK? Compare this to the Scale-Up Visa, a channel aimed at attracting the best talent and creating a better environment for businesses in the UK. This guide will offer a complete overview of the Scale-Up Visa, focusing on its eligibility pre-requisites, application process, and pathway to permanent residency.

Introduction to the Scale-Up Visa

Scale-Up Visa is a highlight of the respective UK Government’s post-Brexit immigration policy which serves the purpose of improving its economic liveliness through inviting highly skilled foreigners whose skills and knowledge can be of use to the UK. This visa is specifically designed for rim member nations to support scale-up businesses experiencing significant growth in various sectors. These nations play a crucial role as sponsors, bringing in highly skilled foreign workers who contribute to the flourishing entrepreneurial society in the UK.

Key Features

Let’s explore the key features of the Scale-Up Visa:


The Scale-Up Visa takes into due consideration a five-year period, which is quite reasonable for candidates to get comfortable within UK work and participate sufficiently in their sponsor businesses. Then these successful candidates can see another opportunity for having a permanent settlement in the UK.

Family Inclusion

The Spin-up Visa is unique in that it also allows family members to join as well. Spouses and children of candidates will be together in the UK, and the residents will be confident that the candidates cannot abandon them because of their families and their future in the UK.

How do Scale-Up Visa Provisions Work?

The Scale-Up Visa components involve two phases, each of which has different requirements as well as benefits attached.

Stage One: Initial Two Years

During the first two years, candidates must secure a job offer from an eligible UK Scale-Up sponsor. This offer should meet specific sponsorship, skill, and salary criteria. Candidates must also satisfy financial and language requirements.


In the first six months of this stage, Scale-Up workers can switch between different sponsored roles in various companies. After this initial period, they gain the freedom to engage in various forms of work, including self-employment and voluntary work, except professional sports coaching.

Stage Two: The Following Three Years

The second stage extends for three years and grants existing Scale-Up workers the ability to remain and work in the UK without employer sponsorship. However, candidates must demonstrate a guaranteed basic gross PAYE salary equivalent to at least £33,000 per annum during the initial two years of their visa.

Eligibility Criteria for the Scale-Up Visa

To qualify for the Scale-Up Visa, candidates must meet specific eligibility criteria:

  • Age: Candidates must be 18 or older.
  • Certificate of Sponsorship: A valid certificate of sponsorship from an eligible UK Scale-Up business for the intended job is mandatory.
  • Genuine Job: The job offered must be genuine and at an appropriate skill level (RQF level 6 or higher).
  • Salary Requirements: Candidates must meet specific salary thresholds, including £33,000 per year, £10.58 per hour, and the ‘going rate’ for the job.
  • Language Proficiency: Candidates must demonstrate English language proficiency at least equivalent to CEFR Level B1 or higher (IELTS 4.0).
  • Financial Independence: Candidates should be financially self-sufficient and not rely on public funds.
  • Tuberculosis Certificate: Candidates from specified countries must provide a valid tuberculosis certificate.

Certificate of Sponsorship: A Crucial Component

A cornerstone of the Scale-Up Visa is the certificate of sponsorship, issued by eligible businesses to facilitate the Scale-Up worker’s entry into the UK and commencement of work. Only A-rated businesses listed on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors can issue these certificates.

Business Requirements

To become an eligible sponsor, a business must meet certain criteria:

  • Annual Growth: The business must have achieved annual growth of at least 20% in terms of turnover or staffing over the previous three years. Additionally, it should have had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of this period.
  • Occupation and Salary: The sponsored role must be at least level 6 on the Registered Qualifications Framework (RQF) and meet minimum salary requirements.
  • Certificate Validity: The certificate of sponsorship must be issued within three months before the candidate’s application date.

Contents of the Certificate

The certificate of sponsorship must contain crucial information:

  • Candidate Details: Name, job, and salary of the candidate.
  • Work Commitment: Confirmation of the candidate’s commitment to work for the sponsoring business for at least six months.
  • Timely Start: The start date of the role must be within three months of the candidate’s application date.
  • Previous Usage: Confirmation that the certificate has not been used in prior applications withdrawn by the sponsor or canceled by the Home Office.
  • Genuineness: Assurance that the candidate will exclusively undertake the proposed role without engaging in additional employment in the UK.

Job Requirements for the Scale-Up Visa

For a job to be eligible for sponsorship under the Scale-Up Visa scheme, it must meet specific criteria:

  • Genuine Job: The job must be genuine, with no intent of deception or fraud.
  • Skill Level: It must meet the minimum skill level of at least RQF level 6 or higher.
  • Eligible Jobs: The UK government’s official website lists jobs eligible for the Scale-Up route, providing clarity on occupation codes, job types, and related titles.
  • Occupation Code: Employers must accurately select the occupation code for the role they are sponsoring to avoid potential visa application rejections.

Language Proficiency for the Scale Up Visa UK

Language proficiency is a crucial aspect of Scale-Up Visa eligibility. Candidates must demonstrate their English language ability equivalent to CEFR Level B1 or higher (IELTS 4.0) in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Exemptions from proving English proficiency apply to candidates who fall into specific categories, including citizens of majority English-speaking countries, those who have passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT), or individuals with certain academic qualifications.

Applying for a UK Scale-Up Visa

Applying for the Scale-Up Visa is a comprehensive process, involving the submission of various documents to prove eligibility. Whether applying from within or outside the UK, candidates must be prepared to provide thorough documentation.

Biometrics Appointment

Candidates may also need to attend a biometrics appointment at a local visa application center, where fingerprints and photographs are collected.

Switching to the Scale-Up Visa

If you are switching to the Scale-Up route from another UK immigration category, certain conditions must be met. Notably, you should not have been granted permission as a visitor, short-term student, parent of a child student, seasonal worker, domestic worker, or left the country without following immigration rules.

If you plan to switch from a Student visa, specific conditions regarding course completion and job start dates apply.

Cost of the Scale-Up Visa

The Scale-Up Visa comes with associated costs:

  • Visa Application: £715 for the primary applicant and any accompanying dependents.
  • Immigration Healthcare Surcharge: An additional £624 per year for each individual.
  • Financial Requirements: Applicants must meet specific financial thresholds, with a minimum of £1,270 in funds held for at least 28 consecutive days within the 31 days preceding the visa application.

Exemptions from the financial requirement may apply if the sponsoring business commits to providing maintenance costs for the first month of employment.

Bringing Family Members to the UK

One of the appealing aspects of the Scale-Up Visa is its provision for family members. Candidates can bring their spouse or partner and dependent children to the UK, fostering a sense of togetherness. However, specific financial requirements and conditions must be met.

Financial Cost

The financial cost for accompanying family members includes:

  • Dependent Partner: £285
  • First Dependent Child: £315
  • Additional Dependent Child: £200 per child

If sponsors submit the application at least one month before the minimum six months of required work, they can certify the finance requirement for dependents.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

The Scale-Up Visa can lead to indefinite leave to remain in the UK, provided candidates meet the criteria. This includes a PAYE salary of at least £33,000 per annum, along with other requirements such as the knowledge of life in the UK and adherence to specific criteria for settlement.

In conclusion, the Scale-Up Visa offers a remarkable opportunity for skilled professionals to contribute to the UK’s thriving business landscape while pursuing a path to permanent settlement. If you are a highly skilled individual seeking new horizons and exciting prospects, the Scale-Up Visa might just be the key to unlocking your future in the United Kingdom.

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