Scale up Visa

Innovator visa

Scale up visa

This route targets talented individuals recruited by an authorised UK Scale-up company having the skills to enable the Scale-up business to continue growing. 

Applicants must have a high-skilled job offer from the authorised Scale-up company at the required salary level.  This route leads to settlement and applicants can sponsor dependent partners and children on this route.

Scale up Company

A scale-up company is defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a company which:

  • Has an annual growth of at least 20% for the previous 3-year period in terms of turnover or staffing;
  • has a minimum of 10 employees at the start of this 3-year period; and

The scale-up company must be listed as A-rated on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors

1. Sponsored Application


  • You must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to do.
  • The sponsor must be authorised by the Home Office under the Scale-up route.
  • The job is listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations and is identified as eligible for the Scale-up route.
  • You have the appropriate skills, qualifications and experience needed to do the job as described.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

The valid CoS must show the following details:

  • applicant’s name, details of the job, salary and PAYE details;
  • a start date which is no more than 3 months after the date of application;
  •  confirmation that the applicant is expected to work for the Sponsor for at least 6 months;
  • the CoS has not been used in previous application which was either granted or refused (but can has been used in a previous application which was rejected as invalid, made void or withdrawn);
  • the CoS has not been withdrawn by the Sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office;
  •  confirmation of whether the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requirement applies.


Job skills level

The sponsored job must be in an occupation code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations that are eligible for the Scale-up route, in addition,

  • the job must have an appropriate occupation code with a right going rate chosen by the sponsor
  • the sponsor has shown a genuine need for the job as described; and
  • the applicant has the appropriate skills, qualifications and experience needed to do the job as described.

Salary requirement

The salary for the job that is being sponsored must be equal or exceed both £33,000 per year, £10.58 per hour, and the going rate for the selected occupation code.

The salary does not include other pay and benefits but only guaranteed basic gross pay (before income tax and including employee pension and national insurance contributions). Only first 48 hours a week will be considered towards the salary requirement if the applicant will work more than 48 hours.

Home Office will publish a list of going rates of occupation codes under Scale-up route. The going rates on this list are based on 37.5-hour week and will be pro-rated to the applicant’s working patterns.

2. Unsponsored Application

After the initial grant of a scale-up worker visa, the applicant can subsequently extend their visa without a Home Office approved sponsor provided that they meet all the requisite requirements:

UK earnings  

You must have monthly PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least 50% of the time spent with permission as a Scale-up Worker.

If the applicant is absent from work due to the following reasons will be treated as periods during which you were paid the equivalent of at least £33,000 per year:

  • statutory maternity, paternity parental, or shared parental leave; or
  • statutory adoption leave; or
  • sick leave.

Earnings are based on guaranteed basic gross pay, recorded through PAYE, other sources of income are not included. The PAYE earnings should be genuine and have not been fabricated and inflated, and it also relates to genuine employment.

3. Other Requirements

The following requirements apply for both sponsored and unsponsored applications:

You must be aged 18 or above and meets other requirements include:

  • you meet the English language ability on CEFR of at least level B1
  • you meet the financial requirement

English Language Requirement

There are 4 ways in which you can show you meet the English language requirement. These include:

  • being a national of a majority English speaking country; or
  • passing an English language test level from a Home Office approved provider and had taken the test at a Secure English Language Test centre – note that you must achieved the required scores in all relevant component in a single sitting; or
  • holding a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or
  • had already shown that you met the requirement, of level B1, in previous successful application for entry clearance or leave to remain.

Financial Requirement

You must show that you have enough money to support yourself (and any dependants). They must have the adequate amount (see below) of personal savings in cash held for at least consecutive 28 days before the date of application;

  • £1,270 for the main applicant
  • £285 for a dependent partner
  • £315 for a first child
  • £200 for each subsequent child

If you have been in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of application, you will meet the financial requirement and do not need to show funds.

4. Dependent partner and dependent children

Dependent partner and dependent children can join or accompany the Scale-up visa applicant, they have to show they fulfil the relationship requirement.

5. Period and conditions of grant for a Scale-up Worker

For successful sponsored application, you will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for 2 years; while entry clearance or permission to stay for 3 years will be granted for successful unsponsored application.

If you are granted a Scale-up Visa, you will not be able to access the public funds.

If your leave is granted on Sponsored Application, then you must be employed in the job that you are being sponsored for at least the first 6 months. You are able to undertake additional work, including self-employment and voluntary work, and study.

If your leave is granted on Unsponsored Application, then you will have full right to work and to study.

6. Switching into the Scale-up visa

Applicants who have other permissions to stay in the UK can switch to Scale-up visa except of you were last granted permission as a Visitor, a Short-term Student, a Parent of a Child Student, a Seasonal Worker, a Domestic Worker in a Private Household or outside the Immigration Rules.

7. Settlement

Scale-up worker route leads to settlement, to apply for settlement, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes:
    • Scale-up; or
    • Skilled Worker; or
    • Global Talent; or
    • Innovator; or
    • T2 Minister of Religion; or
    • International Sportsperson; or
    • Representative of an Overseas Business; or
    • As a Tier 1 Migrant, other than Tier 1(Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • You are in employment in the UK with an annual salary paid through PAYE of at least £33,000 on the date of application.
  •  You have had monthly PAYE earnings in the UK equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least 24 months for the 3 years prior the date of application, absence from work will be considered as listed above under Section ‘UK earnings’
  •   You have passed the Life in the UK test unless you are exempt.

Noted that the earnings only include guaranteed basic gross pay from PAYE earnings only and not other sources of income.