The new UK Scale-up visa will soon be open to international workers to find jobs and migrate to the UK.
The visa will be highly beneficial to both international skilled workers and UK firms that meet the criteria for scale-up businesses. Through this visa, eligible UK companies will be able to access talent from across the globe, as their prospective employees will leverage the pathway to make their immigration dream come true.
Set to launch in Springs in 2022, the new Scale-Up visa is one of the UK’s immigration routes for international workers and a part of the bigger plan to make the country a global tech and innovation hub by 2035.
The visa will be open to highly skilled workers who have secured a job offer from an eligible UK firm that pays a minimum annual salary of £33,000. You are also required to meet the English language proficiency for the visa.
If you are deemed successful by the immigration officers, you will be granted the Scale-Up visa, which comes with a lot of benefits.
Successful candidates will be able to switch employers while in the UK and can also extend their visas to a maximum of 5 years. After that, they will be eligible to apply for UK permanent residency, known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
International tech talents and others in highly skilled industries are set to be the biggest beneficiaries of this visa because the United Kingdom is currently experiencing a shortage of skilled workers in the tech and science industries.
According to a 2021 report by Tech Nation, an organisation that reports events and vacancies in the UK tech sector, demand for tech jobs was 42% higher in 2021 compared to 2019. A Scaleup Institutes report also showed that 21% of scale-ups surveyed in 2021 stated that at least a quarter of their staff came from outside the UK.
The aftermath of Brexit and the Covid-19 downturn has left the UK in dire need of skilled workers, and immigration programmes like this visa route will be a useful tool in bolstering the economy post-pandemic.
“Scale-up” businesses will be able to employ skilled international talents more quickly through this visa route.
To be eligible as a scale-up business, the company must have a minimum of 10 employees and demonstrate the growth of more than 20% for either annual average revenue or employment over a 3-year period.
Though the framework for the Scale-Up visa application hasn’t been released by the government, it is expected that the route should offer a fast-track process and be less rigorous for employers and applicants – as it may not require licence sponsoring.
In its May 2021 policy paper titled New Plan for immigration, the Home Office had said that: “in Spring 2022 we will also introduce a new, unsponsored points-based route to attract the brightest and best to the UK, with a particular emphasis placed on the very high skilled and academically elite. Within this route, we will create a ‘scale up’ stream that will allow those with a job offer at the required skills level from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa, without the need for sponsorship.”
As Springs approaches, international skilled workers can start positioning themselves for this high-valued immigration route. The preparations should include actively searching for vacancies in the UK that match your skills and gathering necessary documents for visa applications. This includes travel documents like passports, training and academic results/transcripts, and other related documents.
You should also do your due diligence on the UK travel requirements for your country, as criteria differ from one country to another. You can also speak with an immigration expert for guidance on the visa.
While there is no information yet for family members, you may start gathering travel documents for your immediate household members as well. This is because related programmes, such as Skilled Worker visa, allow partners/spouses and children to accompany or join eligible candidates in the UK.