Over the last decade, an increasing number of innovative immigration policies have emerged worldwide. These include everything from digital nomad visas implemented across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, to Start Up visas adopted in Canada, New Zealand, and beyond. Countries are quickly adapting their immigration laws to accommodate changing technologies and business environments offering exciting new opportunities for both remote workers and entrepreneurs.
One intriguing yet underreported development is the UK’s Scale-up visa, part of the country’s radical new migration regime. Designed to ease work permits for skilled workers, including tech workers, scientists, engineers, and architects amongst other professionals, as well as support the country’s fast-growing businesses — often called “scale-up” businesses. Successful applicants will be able to work and live in the UK, without requiring further sponsorship after the first six months, and may eventually become eligible for citizenship.
As a firm specializing in immigration and relocation documentation and visa services, we wanted to explore the specifics of this new visa, particularly focusing on the necessary paperwork required for its application. Let’s dive in.
What is the UK scale-up visa?
The UK Scale-up visa is designed to attract international talent to expanding UK businesses. To qualify, businesses must demonstrate a growth rate of at least 20% annually in either staffing or revenue for a minimum period of three years prior to their application.
Applicants have to secure a job offer from an eligible business beforehand, and that position must satisfy the stipulated minimum salary conditions, around £33,000 annually. The visa outlines a five-year pathway for the candidate which can ultimately lead to indefinite leave to remain in the UK. It also permits visa holders to bring along family members, including spouses and dependent children.
Scale-up visas offer applicants a level of freedom that isn’t typical for work visas. The applicant is sponsored for two years by a qualifying UK Scale-up sponsor, in a position that fulfills certain sponsorship, skill level, and salary parameters.
During the initial six months, the applicant can switch between eligible scale-up companies, if desired, meaning they aren’t tied to one specific company or role. After six months, they then have the right to work in the UK for any employer.
After two years, the applicant can engage in almost any type of work, including self-employment or voluntary roles for three years — they no longer need to be sponsored by a UK employer but they do need to continue earning a minimum stipulated gross salary.
After this combined five-year period, Scale-Up workers may qualify to apply for UK settlement, provided they meet all eligibility criteria.
What documentation do you need to apply for a scale-up visa?
Many of the documents required for a UK scale-up visa are relatively simple for the applicant to obtain. Others, such as evidence of relationship with spouse or children, Tuberculosis test results, and potentially other documents may require original hard copies, or at the very least, require an apostille.
Here is a summary of the documents you may need when applying for this UK work permit:
- A valid passport or other identification and nationality document
- Certificate of sponsorship reference number (which is provided by the employer), as well as the occupation code, employer details, job title, and salary.
- Proof of English language proficiency, if required
- Evidence of sufficient personal savings to support yourself in the UK, such as bank statements
- Proof of your relationship with your partner or children, if they’re applying with you
- Tuberculosis test results, if you’re from a designated country
- A valid ATAS certificate, if your employer informs you that your job, which involves research into a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher, requires one.
Aside from procuring these documents, if they are not in English or Welsh then they must be translated, and those translations need to be certified. Being aware of these requirements beforehand and either managing them efficiently on your own or enlisting a service that can ensure the documentation is correctly handled and collected is important.
This step can significantly reduce the risk of errors, which can result in delays or potential difficulties in obtaining the visa.
Lex Documents can help you manage your UK scale-up visa documents
At Lex Documents, we can help collect, procure, translate and authenticate all the documents you need for your UK scale-up visa application.
We collaborate with companies and their relocating employees to make sure they’re equipped with all the necessary information and paperwork they need to apply for work visas throughout Europe, the US, and around the world. If any of the documentation needed requires translation and either apostille or legalization, we take care of that too.
With our new branch recently established in the UK, we are ready to assist companies that are leveraging the scale-up visa program to bring talent into the UK. Just reach out to us to find out how Lex Documents can help!