Scale Up Visa

The Scale-up Worker visa is a new immigration route for a fast-growing UK business across all industry sectors. It was introduced in August 2022.

It is not great.

Scale-Ups are start-ups that have achieved early commercial success and are currently poised to experience rapid growth. The term “Scale-Up” therefore refers to a distinct phase in the company’s growth, and over a short period of time.

An eligible sponsor company is a UK company that can demonstrate that:

(1) their headcount or turnover grew by at least 20% in each of the three years prior to their application to register as sponsor license holders under this Route, and

(2) they had at least 10 full-time employees at the start of the three year period.

Scale-Up Visa holders are required to work full-time for their sponsor for only their first six months in the
UK. Thereafter, they may work for any other employer, unsponsored, for the remainder of the 2 years of the visa.

Scale Up companies will probably not be wanting visa holders/sponsored employees to leave after just 6 months but there is little they can do to stop them moving on.

As far as we are aware, no one has applied for this visa route so far. We do not understand how the UK Government has spent so much time on introducing this new visa route. In our opinion it is not attractive to companies. That is because firstly it applies to only a few “start up” companies who manage to satisfy the eligibility test and secondly, they will be reluctant to incur the cost and time to sponsor people who are free to work for anybody after 6 months.

On that basis, we do not propose to spend any more time describing this visa route.

If things change, we will be happy to reconsider.

Tom Redfern