How to Apply for a UK Scale-Up Visa: What You Need to Know About Sponsorship and Eligibility

International citizens are permitted to travel to the UK and work for a quickly growing company there for more than six months in a qualifying role. The scale-up visa, which went into effect on August 22, 2022, is intended to make it simple for companies that are expanding significantly to hire the best-skilled workers from all over the world. Owners of scale-up visas are uniquely allowed by the rules to switch from a sponsored post to an unsponsored position after six months. 

One of the most important conditions for a UK scale-up visa is that candidates have a certificate of sponsorship and a job offer from a company or authorized sponsor. Additionally, the organization supporting these candidates must be rapidly growing during the scale-up period. 

If the visa is approved, the first stay period is limited to two years, after which the period of stay may be extended for a further three years. Holders may then apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after living there for five straight years. Simply put, continuous residence means that you haven’t gone more than 180 days in a row without being in the UK.

What are scale-up enterprises or businesses?

A scale-up firm or company is one that had any of the following in the three years prior to gaining sponsor license approval for the home office:

  • A 20% annual increase in either total income or employment.
  • A minimum of 10 workers at the start of the three-year period.

Approximately 34,000 firms or businesses are considered to now meet this requirement.

Requirement for UK scale up Visa 

Candidates must fulfill the conditions for a scale-up visa, which include the following:

1. You need an endorsement from a reputable endorsing body. 

The UK government has given these organizations the right to assess the credentials and business plans of applicants. The UK government website lists the organizations it has endorsed. Your firm or organization needs to be innovative, scalable, and able to expand quickly.

Your company cannot be endorsed if you own a majority stake.

2. Endorsement

You need to get approval from a respectable organization. Your credentials, abilities, experience, the viability of the business plan, and the potential impact of your company on the UK economy are just a few examples of the factors that each endorsing organization may analyze using its own set of standards.

3. Maintenance funds

You need to show proof that you have the means to support yourself while you’re in the UK. Regardless of the exact figure, it often comprises savings or investments.

4. English Proficiency test

You must complete an English-taught academic degree program and prove you possess the appropriate English proficiency by passing an approved English language test.

5. Criminal record check

Any country that you have lived in for more than a year in the preceding 10 years may require you to provide a criminal record certification.

It is important to remember that the UK immigration system may undergo modifications, including the addition of new standards or criteria.

Scale-up visa-sponsored and unsponsored routes

The ability to switch employers or employment after the initial six months without sponsorship is one of the scale-up visa’s unique features.

Scale-up holders have a large degree of flexibility because many firms lack sponsor licenses, which considerably widens the pool of available jobs. One can start their own business after the first six months.

Those who change employers or jobs after six months are not needed to apply for a new visa. You must adhere to the salary requirement when requesting a visa renewal.

However, if you want to change jobs, you must notify the Home Office by completing an online application to alter your scale-up visa. 

What is a sponsorship certificate?

An employee must submit a certificate of sponsorship (CoS), a computerized document with a unique identifying number while requesting a visa. An employer must provide an overseas worker with a certificate of sponsorship in order to be authorized to sponsor them.

When an employee receives a certificate of sponsorship, it indicates that they have met the criteria for the specific visa route. Soon after receiving a sponsorship certificate, employees can start the sponsorship visa application process.

After receiving the certificate, the employee has three months to use it. According to the COS, an employee may not submit an application more than three months prior to the position’s anticipated start date.

Types of CoS

There are two types of CoS: defined and undefined.

Undefined sponsorship certificate

For applicants who remain in the United Kingdom, this sort of COS is available. Employers must project how many Undefined certified workers they will need for both temporary and permanent positions in the first year after submitting their sponsor license application. 

Defined COS

For applicants who do not reside in the UK, the prescribed COS is necessary. The certificate must be requested through the SMS (sponsorship management system) by the potential employer. They can start using SMS as soon as they receive their sponsor’s license.

Employees who have changed employment and are working for a new company must request another COS and utilize it for three months. Another COS cannot be given to the employee at this time. 

The employee must get in touch with their current sponsor to withdraw their COS in order to secure a new one. They are unable to obtain a new COS until the current one is canceled. When the sponsor withdraws the previous COS, a new employer may give them a new one.

Normally, it takes one business day to approve a COS. However, it can take longer if more information is needed.

In summary

Free sponsorship is available from nations including Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, and many others.

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