The head of the London Chamber of Commerce says the capital needs its own separate visa system to ensure it can retain talented staff once the UK has left the European Union.
Colin Stanbridge said it was essential to London’s economy that there was a good flow of skilled migrant workers because “without them, success cannot be guaranteed, without their work and efforts our city would slowly grind to a halt”.
He is now urging London Mayor Sadiq Khan to work with the Chamber’s Business Advisory Council to introduce a London visa that will allow skilled EU staff to remain working there.
Mr Stanbridge told the Evening Standard: “This would provide a collective body that could guarantee a third-party sponsorship route for registered sector-specific firms with recognised skills deficiencies.”
The Chamber is concerned about reports that London could lose up to 40,000 jobs in the financial sector, which employs around 920,000 people, as a result of businesses shifting operations out to EU member countries.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research said that in the long term, the impact on employment would depend on the Brexit negotiations. Of particular concern would be the passporting rights that mean banks that are regulated across the UK are able to work across the EU. If this is not maintained, thousands of banking and insurance jobs are likely to be a risk.
Mayor, Mr Khan as described the potential loss of passporting rights as a “disaster”.
“I’ll be pushing the Treasury to make sure passporting is top of their priority list, which is why I will be seeking a conversation with the Chancellor as soon as possible,” he said.
He has already met with Bank of England governor Mark Carney for discussions about how London can maintain its unique status as a financial hub.