'Make skilled visas simpler' demands London

London must "reinvent" itself and make the case to government for visas and immigration procedures to be made simpler to allow more skilled workers to come to the UK, according to a report from the City of London Corporation.

The report says that if London is to maintain its position as a world-leading business hub in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it must focus on innovation, collaboration, inclusivity and sustainability.While business remains committed to central London and recognises the value of working alongside customers, clients and competitors, the report says additional investment in skills, digital infrastructure and the built environment is needed to ensure the UK capital remains the global centre of choice.Additionally, the report looks at how London’s office stock and built environment can be transformed in response to trends such as increased remote and flexible working.Catherine McGuinness, the City of London Corporation's policy chair, said: “London is today facing major challenges. Coronavirus, the UK’s exit from the European Union and increasing protectionism across the globe are all threats to the capital’s role as an international business hub.“Some trends have been accelerated by the pandemic, while others appear to have been reversed. We must reimagine London in order to seize the moment and ensure it evolves in response to this new paradigm.“Just as London enters tighter restrictions might seem an odd time to talk about the future – but it’s more important than ever that we use this time to prepare, and ensure that London is in the best possible shape when the recovery restarts.“Implementing these recommendations will underpin the capital’s competitiveness by supporting innovation, improving sustainability and offering greater opportunities to our diverse population. Business, government, regulators and academics all have a role to play. London must build back better in order to remain fit for the future.”
The report’s recommendations include creating spaces to innovate, akin to start-up incubators focused on a specific theme; transforming London’s office stock to support new uses, including the development of ‘hyper flexible spaces’; improving London’s transport network to cater for new consumer/commuter behaviours; and making the case for improved immigration rules so that the UK can continue to attract 'the brightest and the best'.The report also calls for London representatives to work more closely with leaders of other UK cities to support the government’s levelling-up agenda. This would help to promote the capital as a global gateway for trade and investment into firms based in other parts of the UK.Lord Mayor of the City of London William Russell said: “The capital’s success throughout history has been a story of constant reinvention.“It is more important than ever that London adapts quickly to today’s challenges so that it remains a place where people want to work, live and visit tomorrow.“This report sets out detailed measures that can help the capital thrive and evolve as we get through the current pandemic. A vibrant London will help to drive our recovery forwards as we work with the rest of the UK.”John Romeo, managing partner at business management consultany Oliver Wyman, which assisted in compilation of the report, said that although the negative impact of Covid-19 was "undeniable", he believed the pandemic presented an opportunity for London and the rest of the UK to proactively shape their futures."Both public and private sectors are reflecting on how to respond to a shared challenge and ensure we emerge stronger. London must lean into the global trends shaping the city and embrace the momentum for change that the pandemic has created," he said."“Critically, this reports sets our recommendations for all of London and the UK, not just the City. They are dependent on the talent and wealth of expertise of leaders in business, government and academia across the country.“We are committed to helping foster the partnerships, investment, and conditions for success that will ensure London’s future as the international platform for innovation and collaboration.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory

Related Articles