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Updated March 2023

The Scale-up visa is designed for highly skilled and talented individuals to come to the UK to work for a fast-growing UK business to help it scale even further.

This is a flexible visa because it provides both sponsored and unsponsored routes allowing workers to potentially be unrestricted in terms of who they work for. For the first Scale-up visa application, you must apply through the sponsored route and then after 6 months of working for the same employer, you can switch to the unsponsored route. However, the company you work for must be an eligible “scale-up business” to be able to sponsor you.

At The Nathanson Partnership, we understand the complexities of trying to get your head around the UK immigration rules and requirements. If you need reliable, friendly experts to help you through the process of applying for a Scale-up visa, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Who Is Eligible for the Scale-up Visa?

The Scale-up visa is available to people who can meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a job offer for a genuine role from an approved scale-up business that confirms that you will be required for at least 6 months.
  • You must provide a certificate of sponsorship with your unique reference number to prove that you are able to work in the UK. It will give details of your salary, role, and start date among other information.
  • Your job must be on the list of Home Office eligible occupations and you must be paid the correct salary for the role which should be £33,000 per year, £10.58 per hour, or the “going rate” for your role, whichever is higher.
  • You will need to provide proof of achieving at least level B1 English language CEFR.
  • You must show that you can support yourself in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you meet the eligibility requirements, we advise that you contact a professional to discuss your options.

Does the Scale-up Visa Need Sponsorship?

In order for you to be eligible for the Scale-up visa, you will need to be sponsored by an eligible and approved scale-up business that has a scale-up sponsor licence. Once you have worked with the sponsor for 6 months, you will be able to work for other companies unsponsored.

What Is a Scale-up Company?

A scale-up company is a fast-growing UK business that can prove an annual growth of at least 20% in turnover or staffing for the last 3 years and must have at least 10 employees at the beginning of the 3-year period.

How Long Does the Scale-up Visa Last?

The Scale-up visa is initially granted for 2 years which you can apply to extend if you continue to meet the requirements. To do this, you must have worked for the company on your certificate of sponsorship for at least 6 months and earned a minimum salary of £33,000 per year for at least half of your stay. Self-employed earnings do not count toward the minimum salary. You can extend the visa as many times as you want for 3 years at a time.

Does the Scale-up Visa Count Towards ILR?

Yes, after 5 years on the Scale-up visa, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or settlement in the UK, providing you meet the eligibility criteria.

You must be employed and earning a salary of at least £33,000 at the time of applying for ILR and have earned this salary for the last 2 years of the 3 years immediately preceding the date you apply.

In addition, you must have lived in the UK for at least 5 years and must not have spent more than 180 days in any 12-month period outside of the UK during this time. You must also have passed the Life in the UK Test.

How Can The Nathanson Partnership Help You?

At The Nathanson Partnership, we can help you apply for your Scale-up visa. We can advise you on the requirements you must meet to secure your visa and exactly how you can prove each Home Office requirement. We provide support throughout the entire process and you will have the peace of mind that your application is being handled by experts.

Please contact us for a free initial assessment with our qualified and experienced UK immigration advisors.

Contact Our Expert Scale-up Visa Immigration Professionals

The Nathanson Partnership is made up of regulated immigration professionals providing immigration advice that is accurate and reliable. We are fully accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) which means that we must adhere to high-quality immigration service standards.

We are proud to represent a range of clients and pride ourselves on giving clear, transparent, and practical advice as we understand that the UK immigration system can be confusing. Our experts know the UK immigration rules inside out and are able to interpret them in a clear and concise way so that you understand how they are applicable to you.

If you need assistance with your Scale-up visa application, our team of specialists are keen to help you.

Please contact us today on 020 3476 9523 or email us at [email protected]


When Can I Change My Employer on the Scale-up Visa?

You can change your employer at any time, but if you change your employer before the first 6 months of your stay on this visa, you will need to apply to update your visa. If you have worked for your sponsoring employer for more than 6 months, you do not need to update your visa if you want to change companies, but you will need to make sure that you are earning the minimum salary for your role if you want to extend your visa.

When Can I Apply for the Scale-up Visa?

You can apply for the Scale-up visa 3 months prior to your work start date which can be found on your certificate of sponsorship.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Scale-up Visa?

To get a decision from the Home Office for your Scale-up visa, the processing times are around 3 weeks if you are applying from outside of the UK and 8 weeks if you are applying inside the UK.

What Is a Scale-up Certificate of Sponsorship?

A certificate of sponsorship is a digital certificate with a reference number that confirms that you have a job offer in the UK for an eligible role within an approved scale-up company. You will need the reference number when you apply for the visa as the Home Office will use it to obtain details about your job and for proof of your eligibility to work.


Please contact us today on 020 3476 9523 or email us at [email protected]

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