The Home Office has announced scale-up visas for fast-growing companies

The UK government has launched a scale-up visa to help high-growth startup businesses attract talent from around the world.

Announced by the Home Office on 22 August 2022, the scale-up visa will allow high-growth businesses employing highly-skilled people – from scientists and engineers to architects and programmers – who will receive two years’ leave to stay in the UK. Further sponsorship or permission is required after the first six months.

To be eligible to sponsor people under the visa, companies must achieve a 20% or more increase in employment or turnover year-on-year for at least three years, as well as employ a minimum of 10 people. Beginning of three years.

Analysis of visa requirements Lewis Silkin of the law firm found that the visa would allow fast-tracked application processing and remove the immigration skills charge – which represents a saving of £5,000 over a five-year period compared to skilled worker or senior or specialist worker visas – with the visa holder only being at the firm for the first six months. are tied to and must meet a minimum salary threshold of £33,000.

Structured to provide a cheaper, faster and less administratively burdensome sponsorship process for scaleup businesses, the government says the visa will give these companies greater hiring flexibility and generally help boost the UK’s high-skilled talent pool.

“Fast growing businesses, such as small enterprises, technology and financial services, need the right level of support to get to the next level With our scale-up visa, we are enabling businesses to focus on growth and innovation by giving them more freedom to bring the diverse skills and experience they need, making them more attractive on the international stage,” said Kevin Foster, Minister for Safe and Legal Immigration. .

“Scaleup adds more than £1tn a year and more than 3 million jobs to the UK economy and is present in every community, employing people from home and abroad. The visa will definitely help to meet the skills demand.”

Irene Graham, Scaleup Institute

“By supporting our high-growth technology, financial services and small businesses, we are ensuring the UK remains a global center for emerging technology and innovation, and creating jobs, growth and prosperity across Britain – boosting productivity in the economy.”

Irene Graham, CEO of the ScaleUp Institute, which has been pushing for a scale-up visa since its inception in 2014, welcomed the announcement and said it would provide a “much-needed fast-track service” for thousands of UK businesses.

“Scaleups add more than £1tn a year and more than 3 million jobs to the UK economy and are present in every community, employing people from home and abroad, as they drive growth in their local area and beyond,” he said.

“Visas should meet skill requirements. We look forward to continuing to work with the government as the service evolves so that it fully meets business needs and operates effectively.”

According to Analysis conducted by Scaleup InstituteThere were 33,445 scaleups in the UK in 2019. While the pandemic likely changed this number somewhat, 2019 is the most recent year for which this data is available.

But Dom Hallis, executive director of Coadec and member of the UK’s Digital Economy Council, said: Twitter While welcoming the scaled-up visa, “it could have been better”.

Note that the visa was technically already announced by the Chancellor March 2021 BudgetIn what he added was unusual for immigration policy, Halis said it was interpreted at the time as “unsponsored,” meaning the barrier to scaleup was low.

“Instead of making visas better, easier and cheaper, we have a new set of visas that don’t work as well as they should and should.”

Dom Hallis, Codec

“New visa announced [by the Home Office] And scaleups will require a sponsor’s license – just the odd license that the Home Office will still administer. And they will still have sponsor obligations, perhaps even after an employee leaves,” he said.

“So instead of making visas better, easier and cheaper, we have a new set of visas that don’t work as well as they should and should,” he added. “This is bad policy delivered by a Home Office that sees their job as stopping something from happening, rather than creating a well-functioning system.”

talking workers todayKelvin Tanner, a partner at Charles Russell Speeches, said the scale-up visa would not necessarily solve the problem of routes to work in the UK for highly skilled workers.

“We hope that this ability to change employers will be more attractive to a potential employee than the skilled worker visa route, which requires sponsorship during migrants’ stay in the UK and prohibits changing roles or employers without prior approval from the Home Office,” he said.

“However, given the initial and very high costs for a UK business to obtain a sponsor’s license and sponsor a visa, it is difficult to see how the scaleup route would be a more attractive option for an employer than the skilled worker route, when the latter has lower skill boundaries and longer term migrant workers. Provides more potential for retention as the need for continued sponsorship makes changing employers more difficult,” added Tanner.

“The high and very specific eligibility criteria for businesses to qualify for a Scaleup sponsor license can also be an undermining factor in the usefulness of the route.”

Entrepreneur Network Tech Nation’s Seventh Annual ReportPublished in March 2021, it shows that tech scaleups received one-fifth of all UK venture capital (VC) investment in 2020.

According to More stats from the dealroomUK tech startups and scaleups have secured £12.4bn in VC funding in the first six months of 2022, with a record-breaking £9bn raised in the first quarter of the year alone.

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