UK visa system specific to London suggested

19 Nov 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

London's economy and demographic is so unique to other regions of Britain that a UK visa system specific to the capital has been suggested.

Writing for the Evening Standard, Tony Travers said that the government's efforts to cut back on the number of UK work permits and visas issued are posing a “serious threat to the capital's success”.

London attracts talent from around the world, including top academic people and business men and women. Its arts and entertainment sector also offers a stage to artists and theatre shows from all corners of the globe.

But as Mr Travers noted, the competitive edge that London holds on the world stage is at risk in the face of the government's “aggressive and inflexible immigration policy”. He added: “Trade missions led by the PM, the Chancellor and the Mayor will lead to no inward investment if the business people they meet in India, China and elsewhere find the local British embassy has been told to make access to Britain as hard as possible.”

In addition to attracting a higher percentage of overseas skilled workers, London also has a different demographic to deal with. The city's overseas-born population has grown by over a million since the mid-1990s and in many cases, London has handled this diversity better than other regions.

Mr Travers said that while London cannot have its own migration policy so long as it is not a city state, he urged the government to ensure that the UK immigration policies reflect “the needs of London employers and the city's economy”, stating that the government “needs to recognise London's exceptionalism”.