Scale-up Worker visa


A Sale-up Worker visa allows a worker to come to the UK to do an eligible job for a fast-growing business, sometimes known as a scale-up business.

UK employers must meet specific eligibility criteria to sponsor scale-up workers.


For applicants

To qualify for a Scale-up Worker visa, the applicant must:

  • have a confirmed job offer to work for an approved scale-up business for at least 6 months
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from the employer with information about the role they’ve been offered in the UK
  • have a job offer to do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • be paid a minimum salary in your new job
  • be able to speak, read, write and understand English

Check if your job is eligible.

For employers

To employ someone through a Scale-up Worker visa all of the following requirements must be met:

  • the job offer is at the required skill-level (graduate level or above) and eligible for this visa
  • your UK scale-up business has been approved by the Home Office
  • the applicant meets the salary requirements
  • the applicant will be working in the sponsored job for at least 6 months
  • the applicant must be able to speak, understand, read and write English to the required standard

Who needs to be sponsored with a Scale-up Visa?

You will need to sponsor any overseas national you wish to employ if they are not a ‘settled worker’, are not eligible to make an unsponsored application, or do not otherwise have immigration permission to work for you in the UK. This includes most EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020.

Who doesn't need sponsored?

You do not have to sponsor certain categories of worker, including:

  • Irish citizens
  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens (and their eligible family members) who have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • people with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK (also known as ‘settlement’)
  • Scale-up Workers who are eligible to make an ‘unsponsored application’

This is not a complete list - see full details on who does, and who does not, need a sponsorship.

Sponsorship requirements for the Scale-up Visa

If you wish to sponsor a Scale-up Worker, you must:

  • hold a valid sponsor licence for the Scale-up route
  • understand the general requirements for sponsoring a worker
  • satisfy yourself the worker can meet the immigration requirements for this route
  • only sponsor workers in genuine employment which meets the skill-level and salary requirements of this route
  • assign a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the worker you wish to sponsor and pay the CoS fee
  • keep records for each worker you sponsor, including information on how you recruited the worker
  • have eligible Key Personnel in place to manage your licence and assign or apply for CoS
  • understand your sponsorship responsibilities for each worker you sponsor
  • otherwise understand and comply with all of your sponsor duties

For full details see sponsoring a Scale-up Worker: overview.

How to apply for a Scale-up sponsor licence

Approved employers are also known as sponsors. If you are not already an approved sponsor you can apply for a UK Visa sponsorship.

If you already hold a valid licence to sponsor workers, you can apply to add the Scale-up route to that licence - see sponsorship management system.


There are a number of costs that an applicant must meet for the Scale-up Worker visa including the application fee, a healthcare surcharge and proof that they have enough money to support themselves. If the employer can support the applicant instead this will need to be completed on the certificate of sponsorship.

How long can the applicant stay?

The worker can stay in the UK with a Scale-up Worker visa for 2 years. The visa will need to be extended when it expires. The visa can be extended as many times as you like by 3 years as long as the eligibility requirements as still met. After 5 years the worker may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK.

Further information

For further details for: