Top Companies Withdraw Job Offers to Foreign Graduates Due To Increased UK Visa Salary Threshold

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Top Companies Withdraw Job Offers to Foreign Graduates Due To Salary Requirements For UK Visa
Photo Credits - Kit Suman via Unsplash

Due to significant changes in the skilled worker visa regulations, leading UK organisations have decided to withdraw job offers from foreign graduates. This has substantially affected numerous international students, many of whom have invested thousands into the UK education system.

Join us as we delve into the regulatory changes and explore why companies have reconsidered their positions. We discuss how this shift could impact international graduates, universities, and the UK economy and share insights from Rishi Sunak on his strategies to combat the exploitation of the graduate visa scheme.

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UK Orgs Withdraw Job Offers from Foreign Graduates

Deloitte and HSBC have opted to withdraw job offers from several overseas graduates after the salary requirements for a UK visa changed. Previously, the minimum salary required to obtain a skilled worker visa was £26,200. However, this has now increased to £38,700, or £30,960 if the individual is under 26. Following their decision, these organisations joined KPMG, which took a similar course of action last month. 

HSBC’s decision specifically affects “digital innovation” foreign graduates who were set to join their Sheffield office. Reports indicate that these graduates had already participated in several welcome events and were assigned “work buddies” to prepare for their July start.

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One of the students affected by HSBC’s decision to withdraw job offers shared their experience. They stated, “I had three other offers that I rejected”, before mentioning that despite already spending £50,000 to attend a university in the UK, they will now be forced to return home.

To shed light on the matter, an HSBC spokesperson outlined the rationale behind their decision. They clarified that, owing to the alterations to the salary requirements for a UK visa, several of their positions no longer meet the eligibility criteria. While there was disappointment in having to withdraw the job offers, there was an utmost necessity to maintain legal compliance.

Unfortunately, it appears that such compliance issues will remain. Natasha Catterson, partner and immigration law specialist at Fragomen, discussed how the increased salary requirements could cause problems for several businesses, particularly those outside London. She said, “In many instances… the £38,700 threshold exceeds the average annual wage and is simply unaffordable”. As such, decisions similar to those made by HSBC and Deloitte could yet be made by other organisations.

The Ripple Effect of Deterring International Students

International students represent a significant source of revenue in the UK. A report in 2023 finds that between 2021 and 2022, overseas students had contributed over £40 billion to the economy. To put this into perspective, each parliamentary constituency gained roughly £58 million from the students’ fees. This equates to around £560 per citizen.

Experts warn that increasing salary requirements for a UK visa could deter international students and significantly impact universities‘ finances. 
This is on top of current issues where top companies have decided to withdraw job offers from foreign graduates.

As such, it seems crucial to protect this source of revenue. However, with the recent decision to up the salary requirements, universities and the economy could be set to take a significant hit. This change could influence more companies to withdraw job offers and discourage overseas students from coming to the UK. 

Ms Catterson stated, “This policy is making the UK a more expensive and less attractive place for global talent”. Consequently, universities could face financial challenges, while businesses may struggle to attract top global talent.

The Prime Minister’s Migration Measures

The Government’s objective of addressing legal migration led to the decision to raise the salary requirements. This move followed recent data from 2022 indicating that migration has increased the UK population by 745,000.

Despite concerns that this measure will cause financial struggles and talent shortages, it isn’t the only initiative Rishi Sunak has in mind though. Reports indicate the Prime Minister also plans to clamp down on agents marketing graduate visa schemes abroad. To do this, he would implement mandatory registration schemes, where fines would be handed out for agent malpractice.

It’s also claimed that the Prime Minister intends to revise the existing graduate scheme. Here, he aims to ensure that graduate visas are granted only to the “best and brightest”. Allegedly, these decisions have been influenced by his desire to appear tough on migration ahead of the upcoming general election.

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However, these plans have been met with strong resistance. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan have strongly opposed the anticipated announcements, fearing that a decline in international students would significantly harm universities and the economy. 

And they aren’t alone. The Migration Advisory Committee recommended keeping the graduate visa scheme as it is. They explained that it enabled foreign graduates to establish careers and earn better salaries. This seems particularly important when considering the new salary requirements for a UK visa. As such, we will simply have to wait to see how the Government decide to proceed and what effect this will have on the economy.

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