London businesses urge mayor to ease up on UK work permits

06 Sep 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Ease of access to UK work permits is high on the agenda for a significant number of London businesses.

A recent study, conducted by, found that 37 per cent of business leaders are keen for future London mayors to make it should be easier to recruit skilled workers from abroad. At the moment, this is actually getting harder as the coalition government has tightened up regulation and imposed an annual restriction on the number of Tier 2 work permits that can be issued.

Joshua March, technology entrepreneur and founder of Conversocial, suggested that IT as a sector is in particular need of skilled employees. “London needs better programming talent. All jobs are moving towards software, programming and maths knowledge and if London is to compete effectively, this is the only thing that will make a difference,” he remarked.

However, UK work permits are not the only thing on the minds of London's business elite. Of those questioned, 60 per cent wanted a strong line to be taken on public sector strikes in the capital, with 53 per cent remarking that they had “little sympathy for public sector workers striking over spending cuts”.

Meanwhile, 58 per cent of those surveyed held the opinion that graduates too often lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. This last point is closely linked with the need to draw on workers from overseas, many of whom have essential and very niche skills required by particular industries.