Getting a UK Visa as a Tech Talent

Amidst some concerns over the Home Office’s relatively recent decision to withhold approval of certain visa categories – such as those catered towards investors and entrepreneurs – the UK government decided to implement new UK Work visas aimed at easing the employment and mobility of talents overseas, in an effort to make the country a global hub for innovation in the following years, with 2035 set as the deadline year for attaining this goal.

In short, 3 new visa programs were devised for foreign tech talents. This measure was taken as a means to reinforce the UK’s commitment to technological advancement, already laid out with the launch of the Global Talent visa in February of 2020.

1. Scale-up Visa

Scale-up visas are similar to Skilled Worker visas in that they will operate on a points-based system, but with the main difference being that the former is open to companies of every sector, whereas the latter was only granted to workers of specific government-approved sponsors.

In a nutshell, this visa will enable foreign tech workers to be employed by scale-up companies that meet sponsor licence requirements, and it would be exclusively granted to those regarded as “top talents”. Scale-up visa holders may switch employers, provided that the new employer also qualifies as a scale-up company.

Scale-up companies are defined as companies that recorded a minimum of 20% yearly growth in employee count and/or turnover during the past 3 years. In addition, said companies would need to have hired up to 10 people at the beginning of the aforesaid 3-year period.

Apart from the information about the sponsor licence requirement, not much has been disclosed regarding eligibility or application prerequisites, albeit a minimum salary threshold has been hinted at, coupled with a minimum level of education and qualifications necessary to be deemed as “top talent”. English proficiency test results may also be demanded, though, most assuredly, for citizens of non-English-speaking countries.

2. High Potential Visa

To qualify for the High Potential visa, you must have earned a tech-related degree at a “top university” at least 5 years before the application date.

A university is considered a “top university” for the purposes of this visa if it appears on the Global University List – compiled by the UK Home Office – which is on par with other renowned ranking lists, such as The Academic Ranking of World Universities or the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, among others.

For the issuance of this visa, a sponsor licence is not demanded. Furthermore, you’ll be allowed to remain on UK soil as a self-employed worker insofar as you’re financially capable.

The allowance period will be proportional to your degree. Ph.D. graduates on a High Potential visa can stay for up to 3 years, while holders with other degrees can stay for a maximum of 2 years. These visas are not renewable and you’ll have to leave the country unless you fill out an application for a different type of visa.

3. Global Business Mobility Visa (UK Expansion Worker visa)

This visa is an upgrade to the traditional Graduate Trainee visa and is the most straightforward way for UK companies to transfer their tech talents from overseas branches into the United Kingdom. This visa is valid for 12 months and is not renewable after expiration but you’ll be able to apply for another visa once you exit the country.

Having a sponsor licence is mandatory in this case, and the visa applicant would need to have a Certificate of Sponsorship assigned, as well as provide proof of having worked for the sponsoring company for a period of 3 months prior to the application.

At the time of application, you would need to pay a fee of £259 in addition to the healthcare surcharge. Also, you ought to have held at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days, so as to show you can support yourself during your stay.


The Global Business Mobility visa came into force on April 11th, 2022, while the other much-awaited routes are set to launch on August 22nd, 2022. More information about the upcoming visas is expected to be released as we approach their launch date.

Get Help from Qualified UK Immigration Lawyers

UK Work Visa and sponsor licence applications are overly complex to get approved, and you would require professional assistance to ensure they comply with current regulations and meet the necessary conditions. The immigration lawyers at Total Law are constantly updated with the newest visa/licence application requirements and can offer immediate support to secure a good outcome.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these novel visa routes, call themat +1 844 290 6312 or fill out the online contact form. They’re available 7 days a week to receive and answer your queries.

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