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Calculating the Scale-up Visa Salary Requirement

The Scale-up Visa route, which was first announced in the spring 2021 Budget, will allow qualifying, fast-growing businesses to hire high-skilled individuals with the skills to enable the business to grow. The scale-up route is promised to open in the Autumn of 2022 allowing individuals who obtain a Scale-up Visa to extend and eventually settle in the UK. This route will allow a dependent partner and dependent children to join a Scale-up Worker on this path.

Among other eligibility requirements for a Scale-up Visa, an applicant must meet a minimum salary requirement. In this post we examine the rules regarding the Scale-up Visa salary requirement and explain how to calculate the Scale-up Visa salary requirement.

What is the Salary Requirement for a Scale-Up Worker?

The Scale-up visa will require a high skill job offer from a UK employer with a minimum salary of £33,000 or £10.58 per hour. Although higher than the minimum salary requirement for the Skilled Worker visa of £25,600, this threshold will be lower than that required by numerous skilled worker occupations which are likely to be employed by scale-ups in the UK.

What counts as a Salary for a Scale-Up Visa?

An applicant’s salary is made up of the guaranteed gross basic pay of up to 48 hours a week. This is an applicant’s salary before income tax and including employee pension in addition to national insurance contributions.

The salary for a Scale-up worker visa does not include any other pay or benefits, such as:

  • Pay which cannot be guaranteed because the nature of the job means that the hours fluctuate;
  • Additional pay such as shift, overtime or bonus pay, whether or not it is guaranteed;
  • Employer pension and employer national insurance contributions;
  • Allowances, such as accommodation or living allowances;
  • In-kind benefits, such as equity shares, health insurance, school or university fees, company cars or food;
  • One-off payments;
  • Any payments relating to immigration costs;
  • Payments to cover business expenses including (but not limited to) travel to and from the applicant’s country of residence, equipment, clothing, travel or Subsistence.

Calculating the Salary for a Scale-Up Worker Visa?

In order to calculate the salary, the Home Office will only take into consideration 48 hours per week. The salary for the first 48 hours will be considered towards the salary requirement and any additional hours work will not be considered. The following example is given in the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules:

an applicant who works 60 hours a week for £12.50 per hour will be considered to have a salary of £31,200 (£12.50 x 48 x 52) per year and not £39,000 (£12.50 x 60 x 52).

The job for which the applicant is sponsored must be an appropriate skill level. The Home Office is due to publish a list of the going rates for eligible Scale-up Visa occupation codes. The going rates stated will be based on a 37.5-hour working week and must be prorated for other working patterns.  

To calculate an applicant’s salary requirement based on their working pattern, the number of weekly working hours divided by 37.5 is multiplied by the going rate for the occupation code. The formula is as follows:  

(the going rate for the occupation code stated in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations) x (the number of weekly working hours stated by the sponsor ÷ 37.5)

Other Requirements for a Scale-Up Worker Visa

As with sponsoring employees on other visas, the Scale-up Visa route has a genuineness requirement where the Home Office must be satisfied that the applicant is due to undertake a genuine job. Reasonable grounds to believe that the job does not exist or is a sham will result in an application being refused. As above, the job for which the applicant is sponsored must be an appropriate skill level, demonstrated by selection of an appropriate Standard Occupational Classification from Appendix Skilled Occupations. The job for which the applicant is sponsored must be a minimum skill level of RQF Level 6.

In addition to the earnings and skills thresholds, applicants under the Scale-up Visa route are expected to meet an English language requirement on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages covering all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to at least CEFR level B1. 

Finally, unless they have lived in the UK for 12 months, applicants must meet a financial requirement. This can be met either through holding funds of at least £1,270 for 28 days or through this requirement being certified by the A-rated sponsor.

Contact Our Business Immigration Barristers 

It is vital that sponsors and applicants understand the Scale-up worker salary requirement in order to ensure their migrants are sponsored under the correct salary level. For advice on satisfying the salary requirements for the Scale-up Worker Visa, contact our immigration barristers and lawyers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form below.


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