Big Ben and Westminster Bridge at sunset


Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom, announced the United Kingdom’s autumn 2021 budget on October 27, 2021. He took this opportunity to also announce that the United Kingdom will soon launch a Scale-Up Visa for foreign nationals.


The Scale-up Visa comes with an aim to recruit the best minds from across the globe. This is estimated to serve a large benefit to the country in becoming the world leader in business expansion. The United Kingdom will hire highly skilled and trained overseas workers.


It is expected to go officially live sometime during the Spring season of 2022. The Scale-up Visa is a part of the United Kingdom’s Innovation Strategy. Not a lot of information is currently available about the Scale-up Visa except for the fact that it will only be offered to those companies that fall under the category of Scale-Up Company.


Under the Scale-up Visa program, the United Kingdom’s government will invest its efforts to get highly qualified foreign nationals. They will be encouraged to contribute to the development of the company and the country as a whole.


Foreign nationals who apply for the Scale-up Visa and are able to secure it will, indeed, represent the best minds from their respective country of origin.

Definition Of Scale-Up Business

Before getting into the details of the Scale-up Visa, let us first understand what a Scale-Up Business is. It is basically a business that has expanded at the rate of 20% over three years. The growth can either be in terms of revenue or the number of employees.


Not every business is categorized as a Scale-Up Business. This can be because the company has not applied for the category or it does not meet the mandatory criteria. Here are the criteria that a business must fulfill to be categorized as a Scale-Up Business for the Scale-up Visa program:

  • It must have at least 10 employees at the beginning of the three years.
  • It must have registered a growth rate of 20% over the previous three years either in its revenue or the number of employees.

As per the figures available, a total of 33,860 Scale-Up Businesses were available in 2018, an increase of 25% from 2013.


Eligibility Criteria For Scale-Up Visa

Eligibility criteria for the Scale-up Visa are different for a foreign national and the resident company. Both must meet their respective sets of criteria to be considered for the Scale-up Visa program.


A foreign national must meet the below-mentioned criteria to be considered for the Scale-up Visa program:

A resident company has to fulfil the below-mentioned criteria to apply for the Scale-up Visa program:


These criteria are mandatory to be considered for the Scale-up Visa program.

Conditions For Obtaining Scale-Up Visa

The Scale-up Visa is not yet in place. It will officially go live sometime in the Spring season of 2022. Therefore, information regarding the conditions for obtaining the Scale-up Visa is limited.


Based on the information that has been publicly announced, it is clear that the Scale-up Visa program will run as a Sponsored visa program. It will be under the Points-Based System of the United Kingdom.


A possibility is that conditions once announced for the Scale-up Visa may change later. The Scale-up Visa program will be in its initial phase with a lot of room for improvement.

Benefits Of Scale-Up Visa

Benefits of the Scale-up Visa program will extend to the United Kingdom, the Scale-Up Business, and the foreign national. The announcement has, therefore, sparked everyone’s interest in the program.

  • A company would benefit as it will get access to the hiring process of a skilled and qualified foreign national. This will aid its plans for further expansion in the industry.
  • An individual, or a foreign national, will become a part of the ever-growing ecosystem of the United Kingdom.
  • As for the United Kingdom, the country will be able to secure its spot as the global leader of the business. It will also lead the line of hiring extremely innovative talent.

Scale-Up Visa Vs Skilled Worker Visa

Skilled Worker Visa has been in place for some time. The introduction of the Scale-up Visa has ignited a discussion about how it is different from Skilled Worker Visa.

Skilled Worker Visa Scale-Up Visa
Looking at the Skilled Worker Visa first, it is primarily for candidates who are looking for a job in sectors like healthcare, engineering, and computer science. The Scale-up Visa, on the other hand, opens the doors to every type of foreign national irrespective of what field he or she chooses.

Despite that difference, both share a similarity. The Scale-up Visa and the Skilled Worker Visa are based on the United Kingdom’s Point-Based System for Immigration.

Look For A Scale-Up Business

A Scale-Up Business never hides in the global market. It, in fact, takes measures to get noticed by foreign nationals. You can look for a Scale-Up Business on the official website of Scale-Up Institute.


The website enables you to look for a Scale-Up business based on your preference of industry. You would come across several reviews about all the companies. Give those reviews a read before finalizing the Scale-Up Business.


Additionally, you can sign up for newsletters, reports, and general news on the official website of Scale-Up Institute. Scale-Up Businesses can also access the website to seek support for themselves.

Scale-Up Visa Extension

Based on the trend for other types of Visas, it can be assumed that a foreign national will be able to extend the Scale-Up Visa for 5 more years. The United Kingdom normally grants an immigration-style visa for 30-36 months only. After which the foreign national has to re-apply for the visa before seeking an extension.


The same may be the case with the Scale-Up Visa.


Since the Scale-Up Visa has just been announced by Rishi Sunak, only a little information is available on whether a foreign national can extend his or her Scale-Up Visa.

Availability of Quota Under Scale-Up Visa

The United Kingdom is crystal clear about the quota mechanism under the Scale-Up Visa. It will only grant the visa to a foreign national who displays his or her skills at the top-most level. No special treatment will be given to any candidate irrespective of what argument is placed in front of the authorities.


Since it is entirely a sponsored visa, foreign nationals do not have to worry about their finances. They must only be good with their jobs and have the required qualifications and skills.


Focus on acquiring real talent is what the United Kingdom is really believing in to achieve global growth.

Settling With The Scale-Up Visa

It is also being speculated that a foreign national with the Scale-Up Visa in the United Kingdom will be eligible to apply for becoming a British national.


Details will be announced but the outline of the Scale-Up Visa does look astonishing. Every visa ultimately qualifies the foreign national to apply for Permanent Resident and the Scale-Up Visa may run on a similar line.

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Foreign nationals with a Scale-Up Visa can settle in the United Kingdom. They must only complete a stay of 5 years. Once completed, they will be eligible to apply for the status of Permanent Resident in the country.

Switching Jobs During Scale-Up Visa


He or she must only fulfil the requirements. The business must also comply with all the requirements of the Scale-Up Visa program.


After completing 5 years under the program, foreign nationals will become eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, also known as Settlement Visa. This will offer more freedom to choose other jobs.

A professional career in the United Kingdom can be started from one Scale-Up Business and ended in another Scale-Up Business. Foreign nationals will not be forced to remain at one Scale-Up Business.

Status Of Family Members Under Scale-Up Visa

There is no confirmation about how the family members of the foreign national will be categorized. The details will be released by the UK Visas and Immigration Services once the Scale-Up Visa has been officially launched in the United Kingdom.

Skilled Worker Visa allows a foreign national to bring his or her family members along. Candidates looking to apply under the Scale-Up Visa are also expecting the same thing to be announced by the United Kingdom government.


Approval will most likely make it to the mark and family members will be permitted to stay in the United Kingdom along with the foreign nationals.

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Process To Obtain Scale-Up Visa

The process to obtain a Scale-Up Visa will be initiated by the employer of the Scale-Up Business. It will be entirely done over the internet on the official website of the UK Visas and Immigration Services.


Details regarding the document submission and number of days will be announced later in the Spring season of 2022.


One can expect the process for Scale-Up Visa to be streamlined and smooth.

Cost Of Scale-Up Visa

Costing of the Scale-Up Visa will be announced later in 2022. The current debate is around the point of whether the cost should be subjected to the Immigration Health Surcharge.


The tentative timeline for officially launching the Scale-Up Visa was earlier in 2021. It has been pushed to the Spring season of 2022. Keep an eye for updates as the United Kingdom government is expected to release them any time before Spring 2022.

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