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Scale-Up Worker Visa for Nigerians

The Scale-up Worker visa is a type of UK work visa aimed at those who wish to work with fast-growing businesses.

IAS works across the UK and Nigeria to help Nigerian citizens immigrate to the UK and other international destinations. For more information about our services and how we can help you obtain a UK work visa, call our UK number on +44 (0) 3316300929 or our Nigerian number on +23413438882. Or contact us through our form online.

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    For Nigerian emigration matters, please call +44 (0) 3316300929 or 23413438882.

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    Overview of the Scale-Up Worker Visa

    The Scale-up Worker visa (formerly known as the Scale-up visa route) is a unique type of UK work visa aimed at facilitating rapid growth of emerging and expanding businesses in the UK.

    Such businesses are able to take advantage of the Scale-up Worker visa to hire international talent to help them grow and flourish in the UK.

    Visa holders can also take advantage of the Scale-up Worker visa’s uniquely lenient restrictions. Namely, you will only have to work in the job you’re sponsored for 6 months, after which you are able to leave that job and take on any other role in the UK you like.

    The Scale-up Worker visa will allow you to stay in the UK for an initial period of 2 years. After this period, you can apply to extend your visa by another 3 years.

    After spending a total of 5 years in the UK on this visa, you will also be able to apply for permanent settlement through indefinite leave to remain.

    What Can I Do With a Scale-Up Visa?

    With a UK Scale-Up Worker visa, you will be able to do the following in the UK:

    • Work for your employer (also known as your “sponsor”) for a minimum of 6 months
    • Leave your sponsored role after 6 months to pursue other roles
    • Study
    • Bring your partner and dependent children with you to the UK
    • Take on additional work alongside your primary sponsored role, including becoming self-employed
    • Do voluntary work
    • Travel to and from the UK
    • Apply for permanent settlement through indefinite leave to remain after spending 5 years in the UK with this visa

    You will not, however, be able to access any benefits or state funds.

    You will also not be able to work as a professional sportsperson in any capacity.

    What is the Eligibility Criteria?

    In order to be eligible for this visa, you must meet the following eligibility criteria. You must:

    • Have a valid job offer to work for an eligible, approved scale-up business in the UK
    • Plan to work in your job for at least 6 months
    • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer
    • Be working a job that is on the eligible list of occupations
    • Meet the minimum salary requirements
    • Meet the minimum English language requirements
    • Have at least £1,270 in personal savings to show that you can support yourself financially in the UK

    These eligibility criteria are outlined in further detail in the following sections.

    Eligibility Criteria for Sponsors

    The employer who will be sponsoring you to come to the UK must be an eligible scale-up business.

    Scale-up businesses are ones that either:

    • Have been endorsed by an approved endorsing body, or
    • Have been deemed as an eligible fast-growing business
      • To qualify for this category, the business must have, in the 3 years before they were approved by the Home Office, must have:
        • Grown by 20% on average in each year in either employment or total sales
        • Had at least 10 employees at the start of the 3 year period

    Your employer must also be eligible to sponsor workers for the Scale-up Worker visa category. The Home Office publishes a full list of approved sponsors and the visa categories they’re able to sponsor employees in.

    Eligibility Criteria for Jobs

    The job you plan to do in the UK must also be a Home Office-approved occupation eligible for the Scale-up Worker visa.

    You can check this by checking your job’s four digit occupation code and seeing if it’s listed on the Home Office list of eligible occupations. Occupation codes can be found from your employer or your certificate of sponsorship.

    There are a wide range of occupations on the list, so it’s worth checking to see if your favoured role may be on there.

    Would you like to be employed in the UK and rise with a flourishing business? Speak to us about the scale-up worker visa. Contact Us

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      What Are the Salary Requirements?

      Your job must meet minimum salary requirements to be eligible for this visa.

      Minimum salary requirements will be whatever is lower of the following two options:

      • £34,600 per year
      • The “going rate” for the role you plan to be doing

      The “going rate” of a role simply refers to the normal annual salary as determined by the government for that particular role or profession.

      Going rates for roles can be found on the Home Office’s list of eligible Scale-up Worker visa occupations.

      What Are the English Language Requirements?

      You must prove that you’re able to speak English to the minimum required standard in order to be eligible for this visa.

      You can do this by doing one of the following:

      • Pass a secure English language test (SELT) at B1 level or above in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale
      • Show proof of a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English that you were awarded from a UK school that you started attending when you were under 18
      • Show proof of a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in the UK or mostly taught in English

      If you need to show proof of a degree-level qualification that was taught outside of the UK, you must apply for a certificate from Ecctis to show that it was either mostly taught in English, or that it was taught in a majority English-speaking country and is the same level as an equivalent UK qualification.

      Finally, you will be exempt from having to pass the English language requirement if you’re a citizen of any of the majority English-speaking countries as listed by the Home Office. Note, however, that Nigeria is not included in this list.

      What Are the Personal Savings Requirements?

      You must normally show that you have at least £1,270 in personal savings to prove that you can support yourself financially in the UK.

      You must also show that you’ve had this money for at least 28 of the past 31 days prior to the date of your visa application.

      You may be exempt from the personal savings requirement if either:

      • You’ve already been in the UK for at least 12 months prior to the date of your visa application
      • Your employer can cover the £1,270 cost for you

      If your employer can cover the cost for you, this must be stated on your certificate of sponsorship.

      If you’re bringing your partner and children to the UK with you, you must also show that they have enough money to support themselves. The required amounts are as follows:

      • £285 for your partner
      • £315 for one child
      • £200 for each additional child

      How Do I Apply?

      You should apply for a Scale-up Worker visa online through the gov.uk website.

      As part of the online application process, you’ll have to provide a range of personal information about yourself, your job, your employer and your personal circumstances.

      You will also have to provide your identity. This will either be done in person at an appointment at a visa application centre, or through the “UK Immigration: ID Check” smartphone app.

      There are three visa application centres located in Nigeria:

      • Abuja
      • Lagos Ikeja
      • Lagos Victoria Island

      Note that there are slightly different steps to follow if you wish to apply to either extend your visa, or switch to this visa if you’re already inside the UK.

      Fast-track your career in the UK with the scale-up worker visa. Contact Us

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        What Documents Do I Need to Apply?

        You will need to provide the following supporting documents and information with your Scale-up Worker visa application:

        • A valid passport or other valid identity/nationality document
          • You must have a blank page in your passport available
        • Your certificate of sponsorship reference number
        • Proof of your knowledge of English
        • Your job title, occupation code and annual salary
        • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number
        • A valid tuberculosis test result

        You may also have to provide the following, depending on your personal circumstances:

        • Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself in the UK, such as personal bank statements
        • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
        • A valid ATAS certificate if your role involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher.

        What Are the Fees and Processing Times?

        The Scale-up Worker visa costs £715 to apply for.

        You will also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge, which will allow you to access the NHS and NHS services in the UK. This will cost £624 a year.

        Scale-up Worker visa applications are normally processed within 3 weeks. However, your application may take longer if the Home Office needs to carry out additional checks, you need to attend a visa interview, or if your immigration case is a particularly complex one.

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        Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain

        The Scale-up Worker visa will allow you to apply for permanent settlement through indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after a certain time.

        In order to be eligible, you must meet all of the following eligibility criteria. You must:

        • Have spent 5 years in the UK on the Scale-up Worker visa or on any other eligible work visa
        • Have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period
        • Earn at least £33,000 when you apply
        • Have been paid a monthly salary equivalent to at least £33,000 per year for at least 2 of the 3 years prior to the date of your application
        • Pass the Life in the UK test

        It costs £2,404 to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

        With the help of IAS experts in the field, getting a scale-up worker visa is ensured. Speak to us today. Contact Us

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          How Can IAS Help?

          UK work visas are highly desirable visas for foreign nationals. This is especially the case for visas such as the Scale-up Worker visa, which can allow its holders to settle permanently in the UK.

          If you’re a Nigerian citizen looking to apply for a Scale-up Worker visa, or any other type of UK work visa, IAS can help.

          We offer complete and comprehensive immigration solutions for clients looking to come to the UK. Whether you need assistance in navigating the application process, need expert advice on which route would be the best for you, or just need to speak one-to-one with an immigration professional, we can help.

          We have offices throughout the UK and also in Lagos. To arrange a one-to-one meeting with an immigration adviser, call our UK number on +44 (0) 3316300929 or our Nigerian number on +23413438882. Or contact us through our online form.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    You can stay in the UK for an initial period of 2 years with the Scale-up Worker visa.

                    You’ll be able to extend your visa for a further 3 years at a time as long as all of the following are true:

                    • You worked in the job on your certificate of sponsorship for at least 6 months
                    • You met the earnings requirements during at least half of your stay with your most recent visa

                    If you received your last certificate of sponsorship on or before 11 April 2023, you must have earned a monthly salary equivalent to at least £33,000 per year during at least half of your most recent stay with a Scale-up Worker visa.

                    Meanwhile, if you received your last certificate of sponsorship after 11 April 2023, you must have earned a monthly salary equivalent to at least £34,600 per year during at least half of your most recent stay with a Scale-up Worker visa.

                    You may be able to switch to a Scale-up Worker visa if you’re already in the UK on a different type of visa.

                    You must meet all of the eligibility criteria as listed above in the article. In addition, you cannot be in the UK on any of the following, as these will not allow you to switch to a long-term work visa such as the Scale-up Worker visa:

                    • Visit visa
                    • Short-term student visa
                    • Parent of a Child Student visa
                    • Seasonal Worker visa
                    • Domestic Worker in a Private Household visa
                    • On immigration bail
                    • Permission to stay outside the immigration rules, such as on compassionate grounds

                    You must apply for a Scale-up Worker visa before your current UK visa expires.

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