Friday, June 21, 2024

New visa rules force HSBC and Deloitte to withdraw UK job offers

Must read

Unlock the Editor’s Digest for free

HSBC and Deloitte have become the latest businesses to withdraw job offers to foreign graduates in the UK, as large employers are forced to reconsider contracts after the government introduced stricter visa rules.

The two companies have told dozens of incoming staff in recent weeks that their job offers had been revoked, people familiar with the details told the Financial Times. HSBC and Deloitte blamed the UK government’s decision to increase the salary threshold for skilled worker visas, the people added.

Another big employer, KPMG, cancelled contracts for some foreign graduates last month.

The government has increased the salary threshold for skilled worker visas from £26,200 to £38,700, and to £30,960 for people under the age of 26 as of April, as part of its efforts to cut record levels of legal migration.

HSBC’s decision affects “digital innovation” graduates who were due to work in its Sheffield office in the north of England. Those affected attended several welcome events in recent months, had “work buddies” assigned by the bank and were set to join in July.

“I had three other offers that I rejected,” said one affected person. “Having spent £50,000 on attending university in the UK, I now have to go back to my home country.”

The bank brought in consultancy EY to review individual cases and advise it on the changes to visa eligibility rules, according to documents reviewed by the FT.

HSBC hired 720 graduates last year, while Deloitte hired more than 2,700 staff in the UK across its graduate, apprenticeship and internship schemes.

One person briefed on Deloitte’s decision said about 3 per cent of the firm’s autumn intake of graduates, about 35 people, have had their offers withdrawn as a result of visa changes.

“The new eligibility criteria mean that some of our roles no longer meet the requirements for sponsorship of skilled worker visas,” they added.

The UK’s Migration Advisory Committee warned the government this week against abolishing its graduate visa programme, a separate scheme that allows overseas students to spend two years working in the UK after graduation. According to polling, immigration is one of the top three issues for voters ahead of the next general election, which is due before the end of January. The ruling Conservatives are far behind Labour in the polls.

The new skilled worker visa rules, which were announced in January, have left companies rushing to manage the fallout.

Some graduates who had their offers withdrawn by HSBC were told they would receive an email explaining the decision, but have so far only received an automated message from human resources saying HSBC was “sorry to see [them] go” after they “decided to leave the selection process”.

HSBC said that “due to changes in the rules covering those seeking sponsored visas to work in the UK we are unable to take forward a small number of offers to candidates as part of our graduate scheme this year. Whilst this is disappointing for both the candidates involved and for HSBC we are required to follow the regulations of every market we operate in. We are currently in discussions with those impacted.”

Deloitte and EY declined to comment.

Letter in response to this report:
UK plc must address failure to invest in training / From Rebecca Pidgeon, London SW1A, UK

Latest article