London could receive it’s own Visa system under new proposals
Thinking back, it has already been 1 year since the referendum in the UK. It is hard to miss the staggering difference of the vote as it was split between London and the rest of the country. With 59% of London’s population voting to remain, this has in a strange sense of the word triggered calls from members of the public and some business figures for London to declare itself a separate “state” from the rest of the UK.
There is no surprise that such a high division is present as immigration plays a key role when it comes to London. London’s population is very diverse and cosmopolitan and it is possible to argue that it relies heavily on immigration than any other region on the country. For example, EU nationals contribute more than £26 billion to London’s gross Value Added and recently it was confirmed that Europeans pay £7 billion in direct taxes a year. Furthermore, we cannot forget that a lot of skilled staff are located in London which makes them highly valued members of the London Business community.
The New Proposed London Visa
A new proposal has risen that London should receive its own visa, it is a bold proposition, however it will divide opinions again. Furthermore, a new “digital visa” was proposed recently for computer specialists as well. For businesses in London this would provide the reassurances they needed that they will not lose key members of staff after a couple of years. It also highlights to businesses that the government acknowledges the importance of migrant workers in London is completely different from the rest of the UK. Businesses must be able to attract new skilled workers and they need the government’s support for workers to encourage this in the future.
On paper, as an idea, it offers a glimmer of hope for London’s future. However, we are currently shrouded in mystery, opinions and propositions change at a daily rate.The city requires more clarity on specific policies, for instance, how this visa would roll out and associate timing before this can get the green light. Of course, a major issue would be the validity and “length of the visa”. However, it is highly doubtful the M25 would be barricaded with border checks.
The proposed visa is a good starting ground for the City of London and if developed further it may give businesses the reassurance they desperately need to be confident that they can continue to secure talented workers from across Europe in the most efficient way.
We may see the government arguing that a separate London visa could be thin end of the wedge and it may not be long before Scotland wishes to follow the same footsteps by arguing its voting percentage and the benefits of remaining in the EU. Ultimately that would not be a bade thing per se, and for much the same reasons.
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