KPMG withdraws job offers to foreign graduates after visa salary rules change

British government increased the salary thresholds for skilled worker visas above some of the starting graduate pay levels at the 'Big Four' firm

The KPMG offices in London, England. The 'Financial Times' says KPMG has withdrawn job offers to foreign graduates because the starting salaries fall below the government's new threshold for sponsored visas. Getty Images
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Foreign graduates have had job offers revoked at the accounting and auditing firm KPMG because the starting salaries fall below the required threshold to obtain a skilled worker visa in the UK.

Foreign graduates who had been offered a job at the 'Big Four' firm had those offers cancelled, because the government has increased the minimum salary level necessary to acquire a sponsored visa.

A spokesperson for KPMG told The National that throughout the recruitment process for graduates, applicants are reminded of the firm’s "ability to process applications or honour a job offer is subject to the latest UK immigration rules at the time".

"In March 2024, these rules were updated, and we’ve since been in touch with all offer holders and applicants impacted."

Back in January, the government announced that the salary threshold for skilled workers would increase in increments from £26,200 a year to £38,700 from April, and to £30,960 for people under the age of 26.

The move was part of the government's efforts to reduce inward migration.

The 'Big Four', Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, pay their graduates starters between £25,000 and £35,000 a year, depending on the area of specialisation.

The change in the visa rules means that, apart from junior actuaries, KPMG has stopped hiring foreign graduates who need sponsored visas outside of London, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the development.

Those graduates who have had their job offers withdrawn would not be able defer a start date until next year either, although they could transfer to another graduate programme, but only if there were still spaces available and they meet the new visa rules.

'Bring numbers down substantially'

Between them the Big Four recruit thousands of graduates every year. It is thought that they will now start to try to fill any gaps left in their graduate recruitment programmes with individuals who have a pre-existing right to work in the UK.

KPMG has been approached for comment.

Experts have claimed the move to raised thresholds could lead to significant pay disparity within companies that employ both foreign nationals and British citizens.

A rush of applications for skilled worker visas was predicted in March, before the new salary threshold were applied from April 4. Those statistics won't be released until November.

In January, Tom Pursglove, the minister for legal migration and the border said that the plan will "not only bring numbers down substantially, but also tackles the inherent unfairness of a system which, if left untouched, would reward employers seeking to recruit cheap labour from overseas at the expense of the British worker".

Updated: April 25, 2024, 8:18 AM