The Scale-Up Visa – A real solution or a nice idea on paper?

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The Scale-Up Visa – A real solution or a nice idea on paper?

January 11th, 2022, Legal Updates

The Scale-Up visa was announced on October 27, 2021 by Rishi Sunak MP who is the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer as a part of his 2021 budget. This new visa category is supposedly going to help accelerate the UK business’s ability to attract highly skilled migrant workers in the post Brexit economy.

The main purpose of the Scale-Up visa (in theory) is that it should allow certain employers identified as Scale-Up Companies quicker access to skilled labour from overseas.


A Scale-Up company is a company of high growth that has an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a 3-year period greater than 20% and have minimum 10 employees in its observation period.

Scale-Up visas and Skilled Worker visas are almost very similar and differ slightly from each other. Skilled Worker visa applicants need to be sponsored by a UK company that holds a licence approved by the Home Office before they can employ a migrant worker from overseas while a Scale-Up visa applicants proposed UK employer does not.

Both visas require a job offer from UK company but the salary requirement for Scale-Up visa is £33,000 whilst the minimum salary required for Skilled Worker visa is £26,000.


Following are the key elements of the Scale-Up visa:

  1. Applicant’s will need to prove their English proficiency.
  2. An applicant must have a job offer from a Scale-Up company with salary of at least £33,000 annually to be considered for this visa.
  3. Applicants of Scale-Up visa can extend their visa for a period of 5 years.
  4. After 5 years on the Scale-Up visa route applicants can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and thereafter British citizenship.
  5. In the event that an applicant wants to switch employers while holding Scale-Up visa and the new employer is not a scale up company then the applicant can switch into another visa route such as the Skilled Worker visa.

Information published so far indicates that the visa is expected to be launched in 2022 apart from that the UK government hasn’t given a conclusive timeline of when it will be launched.

Subject to meeting specific requirements, further details regarding extension will be released in 2022. It will be interesting to see how the process for accepting that a company meets the ‘Scale-Up’ company definition will work in practice, as it is clearly envisaged that someone will have to make such a decision on behalf of the Home Office.

It remains to be seen whether the changes introduced at the start of 2021 to the Skilled Worker visa and the anticipated Scale-Up visa together will help to kick start the UK economy in 2022 and provide UK employers with access to the best possible talent allowing them to compete and attract the ‘brightest and the best’ to coin a much-loved government phrase.

For any questions on Business or Private Immigration to the UK or if you require assistance with your existing application, please contact Head of Business & Private Immigration at GSC Solicitors LLP Hateem Ali on [email protected] or +44(0)207 822 2209.

© 2022 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved.  GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.



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