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London Mayor calls for major changes in UK’s immigration rules for non-EU nationals

Vidya Ram London | Updated on January 08, 2018

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Releases report on immigration proposals

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the British government to introduce an up to two-year long post study work visa for international students, remove the current limit on visas for non-EU workers, and other reforms.

He also called for “qualified freedom of movement” to protect British economic prosperity in the wake of Brexit.

Warning that the government’s current approach risked putting “short-term politics” ahead of economic stability, he argued it was time to “stand up and make the case for the freedom of movement and the benefits it has brought to our economy.”

“Of course we need a robust, managed immigration system and secure borders…but we also need a system that makes it easier — not harder — to bring in the people from around the world who can help grow our prosperity and create more wealth, jobs and opportunities.”

Report released

On Wednesday, the Mayor released his immigration proposals for London and beyond, which also included providing guarantees for EU nationals currently in the UK, and removing international students from the net migration figures, as well as adopting a “pro-active approach” to global talent.

The report argues that the country’s current visa system for non-EU nationals was not set up to generate “the dynamic build up of talent and entrepreneurship” which Britain had seen through the flexibility of being part of the European single market.

“Instead of restricting skilled migration, the government needs to open up opportunities for non EEA skills and talent…this would, for instance, look to create more opportunities for entrepreneurs with a strong business case, and freelance talent in such areas as creative and tech,” argues the report.

It calls on the government to abandon or greatly raise the limit on Tier 2 visas, the most commonly used work route for non-EU citizens, and also for it to open up the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route that would enable entrepreneurs at different stages of developing their ideas to base themselves in Britain.

The government’s decision to include students in annual net migration figures was a “costly mistake” which should be addressed as a matter of urgency, it adds., highlighting the impact it had had on recruitment from India.

“The number of Indian students choosing to study in London and the UK declined significantly since the Tier 1 post study work opportunity was removed. This came at a time of burgeoning demand for higher education in India.”

Khan is due to visit India and Pakistan later this year, as he seeks to shore up relations ahead of Brexit, amid strong competition from other European capitals for business amid the uncertainty.

Published on October 11, 2017

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