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Who are the UK’s biggest Tier 2 sponsors?

Tier 2 sponsors uk

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Applying for a Tier 2 job in the UK as an international student, you want the right information to make the best decisions. Has anyone ever told you who the UK’s biggest Tier 2 sponsors are? The companies who on average give out more work permits to international students and non-EU nationals than anyone else.

How we worked this out.

Finding the UK’s biggest Tier 2 sponsors isn’t straightforward, we used recognised sources and data to build a map using the following steps.

  1. Understand the UK Graduate Market for international students.
  2. Identify the industries that employ the most graduates.
  3. Exclude industries that won’t employ international students.
  4. Find the biggest employers from the biggest industries that will employ international students.
  5. Check they actively sponsor international students.
Tier 2 sponsors

1. Understand the UK Graduate Market for international students.

We used professional research carried out by High Flier’s ResearchSince 1995, every year they interview 19,000 students and major employers and produce an annual report of their findings, accepted as the gold standard for the state of the UK graduate job market. You can find the 2020 version here.

The biggest employers in the UK answer this survey. Known as the Times Top 100 Employers. You can find an up to date list here, or 2018’s list with vacancy numbers from Milkround.

Key Figures

  • In 2019, the Times Top 100 employers hired 6.2% more graduates than 2018. The biggest increase in 5 years.
  • Times Top 100 Employers will hire 3.3% more graduates in 2020. (24,760 as of Jan. 2020)
  • For the first time in 8 years, Public Sector vacancies exceed Accounting and Professional Service becoming the biggest employer of graduates in the UK.
  • Graduate starting salaries remain unchanged for 6 year’s straight at £30,000.
  • 80% of the countries top employers now offer paid work experience, a total of 13,514 places and 75% offer paid vacation internships. (Summer/Winter)
  • Employers received 10% more applications than the previous year.
  • 40% of employers believe the standard of applications have improved.
  • The most targeted Universities by the biggest companies in the UK are Manchester, Birmingham, Warwick, Bristol, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, University College London, Sheffield and Oxford.
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Times Top 100 Graduate Jobs
0 %
Increase in 2020 graduate vacancies
£ 0
Average graduate starting salary

2. Identify the industries who employ the most graduates.

Taken from UK High Flier’s Graduate Vacancy Report for 2020

Tier 2 sponsors

3. Exclude industries that won’t employ international students.

These 3 industries won’t provide work permits to international students, though they may employ professionals with work experience for more advanced roles (the NHS being a good example)

This may be due to national security (Armed Forces and Public Sector) , lack of funds (Charity), or there being enough talent within the UK to fulfil these roles. (Public Sector and Charity)

  1. Armed Forces
  2. Charity
  3. Public Sector

Let’s also take away the industries, that provide less than 1% of the available jobs.

  1. Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals
  2. Consulting
  3. Consumer Goods
  4. Oil & Energy

This leaves 8 industries.

Tier 2 sponsors

We nicknamed them the Big 8.

Tier 2 sponsors

4. Find the biggest employers from the biggest industries that will employ international students.

By far the biggest industry is Accounting & Professional Services with 5,205 jobs, 32% of all the graduate roles available from those 8 industries.

So, who are the biggest employers in Accounting & Professional Services. We can find that out from the Times Top 100 Graduate Employer’s List .

These 4 companies employ more international students than almost anyone else.

Ranked 2nd. 1,350 jobs.

Ranked 6th. 1,200 jobs.

Ranked 7th. 1,000 jobs.

Ranked 11th. 800 jobs (est.)

What jobs they provide and how can you apply for them?

The Big 4 provide jobs in 4 main categories:

As well as Corporate Finance, Business and Actuarial.

60-70% of graduates start in Audit. 10-20% in Tax, 10% Consulting, and less than 1% in Deals. These figures are estimates based on personal experience, as the Big 4 do not provide these numbers to the public.

ANYONE can apply for these graduate programmes. You do not need an Accounting or Finance degree.

For most roles, you will need a 2:1 (60% in the UK) for your bachelor’s degree.
However the Big 4 have lowered their academic requirements since 2015.

Lowering the UCAS tariff, or allowing graduates in with a 2:2 in their Bacherlo’s Degree:

HELP: Confused about UCAS points, requirements and the tariff? Click here.

Click the Logos below, to go to the companies website and learn more about their entry requirements and Frequently Asked Questions.

PwC no longer use UCAS PwC still require a 2:1, but since 2015 they no longer use the UCAS tariff.

KPMG reduced their UCAS requirements KPMG have dropped their UCAS requirements to 120 in the new system (A*,A*,E/ A,A,D) They still require a 2:1.

Deloitte may accept a 2:2 Deloitte dropped their UCAS requirement to 106, and ask for a 2:1 degree. But state that those who narrowly got a 2:2 , or missed the UCAS cut off will be considered.

Anyone can apply for EY EY removed all the academic and UCAS requirements from it’s forms in 2015. None of their applications are screened based on academic marks.

How many Tier 2 Visas do they have?

In my experience of training over a hundred clients into just these 4 firms over the past 7 years, I estimate 10-15% of the graduate roles on offer will be eligible for Tier 2 Visa.

The cut off point for applications is always 4 months prior to the start date, as large companies like to do Tier 2 application in what is called “batch cos allocation.” (making a large amount of cos or work permit application in one batch)

They have 2 start dates April and September. The deadline for April would be end of December, and for September would be the end of April.

These companies are desperate for bright young graduates; over 50% of new graduates will leave the Big 4 in the first 3 years either because it is too tough, or they have qualified and want to do a role more in line with their personal interests.

Each of these companies is well known for the clients they serve (the opportunity to work with household names from the FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies) and the quality of training they provide.

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