Mayor leads call for London to stay open to foreign talent

London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, along with other prominent signatories, has signed a letter published in the Daily Telegraph highlighting the need for a comprehensive trade deal following Brexit.

Mayor leads call for London to stay open to foreign talent
London risks losing its “creative edge” after Brexit unless it remains open to talent from across the world, a prominent group of politicians, academics and businessmen warned the government.In a letter to Brexit Secretary David Davis, published in the Daily Telegraph, the group also warned that 70,000 jobs in financial services in the City could be lost unless the government secured a deal that enabled firms to continue to operate freely throughout the European Union.Coordinated by the think-tank Centre for London, the letter – whose signatories included Mayor Sadiq Khan – noted that 12 per cent of City workers were nationals from other EU countries.

Leaving the EU without a deal ‘catastrophic’

“Falling out of the single market without a comprehensive trade deal or adequate transitional arrangements would be catastrophic for many London businesses, as would the sudden loss of EU workers,” said the letter.Richard Brown, research director at Centre for London, said, “Over the past 25 years, London has become a pre-eminent global city. If Brexit makes it harder for London employers to access European talent, suppliers and markets, it could impair that position, and jeopardise the contribution that London makes to the UK economy. We are arguing for a better Brexit so that London can remain open to talent and trade.”Apart from Mr Khan, signatories included UCL provost Michael Arthur, London Councils' chair Claire Kober, Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw, London Chamber of Commerce chief executive Colin Stanbridge, and London First chief executive Jasmine Whitbread.The Centre for London is calling for Mr Khan to be given a prominent role in formulating the government position on Brexit. It also wants the government to introduce a regional migration system, with different work permit quotas allocated to areas according to their skills needs.
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In London's case, the think-tank said this should include a one-year 'City-Maker Visa' to allow EU citizens to live in London for a year while looking for work or start-up opportunities. There is also a call for an extended two-year, working holiday visa for young Europeans.The demands from the group came after Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan, claimed that Brussels would be able to “dictate” how many of the bank's 16,000 UK jobs would eventually have to relocate to other EU centres after Brexit.Earlier this year, JP Morgan announced it was beefing up its operations in Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg ahead of Brexit. Speaking in Paris, Mr Dimon said that plans were already in hand to move “several hundred” jobs, but warned that number could jump substantially.“If the EU determines over time that they want to start to move a lot more jobs out of London and into the EU, they can simply dictate that,” he told the Europlace International Financial Forum.“We have 16,000 people in the UK – 75 per cent of that is servicing EU companies, and if regulators say one day: 'We're not comfortable with your risk people, your lawyers, your compliance being in the UK', they can make us move it. What happens next is totally up to the EU, it's not up to Britain.”

Frankfurt and Dublin becoming favoured destinations after Brexit

EY's latest Brexit Tracker report this week showed that Frankfurt and Dublin were emerging as favoured destinations for financial services looking at moving operations out of the UK after Brexit.The report found that 59 of the 222 businesses being monitored were either reviewing their primary locations or have started moving parts of their operations – an increase from 23 companies undertaking such tasks in March.A total of 19 firms have already publicly stated that they will be moving staff or operations to Ireland, while 18 have opted for Germany. This compared to 11 companies favouring LuxembourgOmar Ali, EY's UK financial services leader, said, “The difference three months on from the triggering of Article 50 is that we are seeing major financial brands put their contingency plans into action – over a quarter of the companies we track have suggested there will be potential changes to their London base as a result of Brexit. This process will only accelerate as firms finalise their submissions to the regulators on their Brexit plans.“The variety of locations being announced highlights that no one European centre is emerging as a compelling alternative to London.“However, these operational changes also highlight a real risk to European businesses and the wider economy, as the fragmentation of European financial services could increase costs and limit the breadth and depth of finance options for European corporates.”
Read David Sapsted's article on Establishing Right to Remain – which discusses the uncertainty over immigration which the UK faces following Brexit – in the Summer 2017 issue of Relocate Magazine.
For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.

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