Scale-Up visa – A new fast track visa for the highly skilled

Why is the scale-up visa being introduced?

In the last autumn budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak illustrated the importance of migration to the UK’s economy and his plans to introduce a new visa route “making it quicker and easier for fast-growing businesses to bring in highly skilled individuals” to the UK by providing MPs with further information on the new Scale-Up visa. This new route, which is due to be launched in Spring 2022, is part of the Government’s plan to make the UK a global innovation hub, as he went on to say, “an economy built on innovation must be open and attractive to the best and brightest minds”.

Who qualifies for a Scale-Up visa?

The Government have confirmed further details on the requirements will be released in due course, but here is what we know so far:

  • Applicants will need to have a high-skilled job offer (NQF Level 6 or above) from an eligible business with a salary of at least £33,000.
  • Applicants will need to meet the English language requirement.
  • A Scale-Up visa holder will be required to work for the sponsoring business for at least 6 months and can then work outside the sponsored role.
  • Applicants will be able to work, switch jobs as well as employers in the UK.
  • Applicants who are successful in obtaining a Scale-Up visa will be able to extend their visa to a maximum period of five years and the visa will count towards achieving settlement in the UK.
  • There will be no Immigration Skills Charge payable.
  • Sponsorship duties will only apply for the first six months of sponsorship.
Who does the scale-up visa benefit?

The visa is aimed for eligible businesses who are able demonstrate an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a 3-year period greater than 20% and have a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the 3-year period.

There are estimated to be around 34,000 Scale-Up companies in the UK. We can therefore see why the Government are proposing to put a visa in place which specifically supports businesses at this stage of growth to boost the economy and to recover from the pandemic as swiftly as possible. It also takes away many of the compliance burdens imposed through the Skilled Worker route making it a more attractive option.

How we can assist

We will provide further details on this category as and when the same is released. However, please feel free to call us on 01276 686 222 or submit a website enquiry should you wish to discuss further, and we shall get in touch.


This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.

Usof Shah
Senior Solicitor, Immigration
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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