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.
As immediate priorities, we are pressing for government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and to remove international students from migration figures, and the associated restrictions.
We have developed a new pro-growth immigration approach together with PwC that will ensure the UK can access the people and skills it needs from around the world post-Brexit. Informed by comparable systems from around the world, this five-point proposal is based on the skills needs of our economy, overseen by an independent body.
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.