London’s critical mass of talented people from around the globe is a major competitive advantage. Uncertainty in the business environment, specifically with respect to immigration policy could threaten this position.
The UK must give a clear message that it is ‘open for business’, and our aim is to ensure government lands a fair and managed immigration system that keeps the door open to the skills business needs. London First has a long track record of working with employers and the Home Office to influence UK immigration policy.
We have brought together a coalition of business and education bodies to campaign for an immigration system which keeps the UK open to workers at all levels. It is essential that when the UK leaves the EU, the government’s proposed ‘points-based system’ streamlines visa processes for businesses, rather than add further bureaucracy. The #FullStrength campaign has four key asks:
a salary threshold lowered to £20,000
a two-year temporary work route
a reformed sponsorship model and
a two-year post-study work visa
Underpinning our FullStrength campaign, our Global Britain report with PwC is informed by comparable systems from around the world and proposes a new pro-growth immigration approach that will ensure the UK can access the people and skills it needs post-Brexit. The report successfully influenced government thinking ahead of its immigration white paper in December 2018.
Read our responses to the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) consultation on EEA citizens, and our response to the consultation on international students. We also responded to the MAC’s consultation on a salary threshold and points based system.
London’s migrant workforce
In our report with PwC we laid out the facts on London’s migrant workforce, and they speak for themselves; overseas talent is of huge value to the UK, contributing a net additional £46,000 in Gross Value Added a year to London’s economy.
This doesn’t just benefit the capital, London’s migrant labour results in £30bn additional GVA to the wider UK economy each year. For every 2.5 migrant workers in London, a new job is created.
Employers across the capital rely on people born outside of the UK to fill skills shortages and help grow their businesses: 15% of people working in London’s financial services were born in the EU, nearly one in three workers in the construction sector, and over one in ten doctors in the NHS.
London is the world’s most popular place to study, and our international students bring a net benefit of £2.3 billion a year to the UK economy.
Our report, London Calling concludes that the capital’s higher education system is an export success story, with 92 per cent of students saying they would recommend studying in the UK to their friends and family.
The report dismisses the myth that international students are a burden on public services. Instead, they were shown to contribute a total of £2.8 billion through the spending they bring to the country, while only consuming £540 million in public spending. London Calling successfully called for the reinstatement of the post-study work visa.