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New UK Visas for Tech Talents

The UK government plans to launch some new visa routes. These new routes will ease the immigration process for businesses hiring overseas talents and individuals with dreams of working in the UK. The development is in line with the UK’s Innovation Strategy – a vision for the country to become a global hub for innovation come 2035. 

Tech talents will be among the biggest beneficiaries. Already, the government, in partnership with Tech Nation, launched the Global Talent in February 2020. However, these new visa routes are expected to be more accommodating. Check them out below: 

1. Scale Up Visa 

The Scale-Up Visa is exclusively for top talents. It’s open to talents with job offers from scale-up companies. A scale-up company is one that records at least 20% growth in employee numbers or turnover per year, for the past 3 years. Also, the company must have hired up to 10 people at the start of the 3 years. 

The Scale-Up Visa is expected to be a sponsored visa. Also, it’s under the points-based system, similar to the Skilled Worker visa. However, the Scale-Up visa is unique in that it’s open to every sector. 

Until the visa is out, info about the eligibility and application requirements is limited. Nevertheless, as a sponsored visa, a sponsorship licence will be one of the requirements. Hence, qualifying scale-up companies will also need to meet the sponsor licence application requirements. 

Furthermore, there could be a minimum salary requirement. Beneficiaries will need to have a minimum level of education and other qualifications to show they’re a “top talent.” Like many other UK work visas, beneficiaries may also need to prove English proficiency. 

As a beneficiary, you can switch between employers in the UK so long as they qualify as a scale-up. The Scale-Up visa is predicted to be extendable for up to 5 years. If so, it could lead to settlement status. 

2. High Potential Visa 

This visa route targets graduates of top universities. It’s welcoming if you’re a graduate of any tech-related field in a university on the Global University List. The UK Home Office compiles and publishes the Global University List every year. 

The list is almost synonymous with other top university ranking lists like the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities. 

To qualify, you must have graduated at least 5 years before your application date. Furthermore, you need confirmation from Ecctis – a renowned qualifications and skills reference company – to prove the validity of your qualification. 

You don’t need a sponsor licence to apply for the High Potential visa. You can enter and stay in the UK as a self-employed worker so long as you’re financially capable.

How long you stay in the UK on a High Potential Visa depends on your qualification. Doctorate holders like Ph.D. graduates can stay for 3 years. Other degree graduates can stay for 2 years. 

You can’t extend your visa once it expires; you’re to exit the country. However, it’s possible to switch to a different visa that you qualify for.

3. Global Business Mobility Visa 

The Global Business Mobility visa is set to be the easiest route for UK businesses to temporarily bring tech talents working in overseas branches into the country. It’s an upgrade of the Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa. 

To qualify, you must have worked for the sponsoring company for 3 months immediately before your application. Businesses must apply for a sponsor licence to bring in workers under this visa route. 

After obtaining the sponsorship licence, the business will then issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to the beneficiary. Other important documents to provide include job title & annual salary and proof of finance – at least £1,270 unless you’re exempt. 

Furthermore, you’ll pay a £259 application fee and the healthcare surge – about £624 yearly. Although a temporary visa, you can bring your dependents to the UK. 

The Global Business Mobility visa is valid for 12 months maximum. You’ll spend less if the time on your sponsorship certificate plus 14 days is less than 12 months. You can’t extend your visa after expiration but you can apply for another when you leave the UK. 

Bottom Line 

The Scale-Up and High Potential visas are to launch in Spring 2022, around May to August. The Global Business Mobility visa, however, is open for applications.

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