Access to skilled EU workforce 'vital' for London, report finds

Union Jack umbrella Image copyright AFP
Image caption The report says Brexit will provide both challenges and opportunities for the city

Maintaining London's access to skilled EU workers after Brexit is "vital" for the capital's future prosperity, a report has found.

Authors London First said business leaders were worried any restriction on skilled migration would "impede London's ability to attract talent".

The organisation said leaving the EU also presented new opportunities to the city but other investment was required.

Theresa May has not confirmed her plans for freedom of movement after Brexit.

But she has previously promised to secure a settlement that "addresses the concerns of the British people about free movement".

London First describes itself as a non-profit organisation with a mission "to make London the best city in the world to do business".

The paper, which is based upon talks with business leaders, found that leaving the EU will present "challenges" and "opportunities" to the capital to keep it competitive on the world stage.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The report found that 55% of the adult population in London are graduates

In the report, London First said the city had "one of the greatest concentrations of talent and skills in the world" and future policies should attempt to maintain this.

Suggestions made by the organisation to achieve this include:

  • Maintaining the legal status of EU workers currently in the UK
  • Creating a visa regime which accounts for London's employment needs
  • Investigating the possibility of developing regional migration policies, such as a "London visa"

The report did find that leaving the EU could provide access to new markets and sources of investment for businesses in the city.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption London First called for better transport links including increasing air capacity in the South East to improve trade and tourism

But the authors said "challenges" created by economic growth would have to be addressed to keep the city "open for business".

These included better transport infrastructure, improved skills training in the capital and the faster delivery of new housing.

The report adds that improving cooperation with other UK cities will also help London "drive growth across the country".

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