Proposal of a London-only work visa in a post-Brexit society

Proposal of a London-only work visa in a post-Brexit society

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has proposed the introduction of a London-only work visa in a post-Brexit society. It would protect EU nationals who are currently working in London but restrict them to the area within the M25.

A recent study by Cebr has suggested that 160,000 workers will leave London as a result of Brexit, taking with them £2 billion of direct tax contributions. The proposal would allow EU nationals to work in London whilst preventing them working elsewhere in the UK by issuing a specific national insurance number. In order to retain this London-only visa, if the EU national stopped working, they would have to find another position within 60 days or face deportation.

Professor Tony Travers, director of research centre LSE London, said ‘Separate rules for London are viable and could also be beneficial for the rest of the UK’s regions’. The plans have been based on other country’s methods, like Canada and Australia, which have systems where migrants can live and work in designated parts of the country where there is a particular want or need for them. Thoughts have furthered toward Britain becoming more like a federation with devolution of powers to regions, such as Manchester and Birmingham, whilst the central Government retains command of the bigger issues such as defence. Campaigners for the idea claim that if London was a sovereign state it would have the same GDP as Switzerland or Sweden and that other regions could establish their own economies too.

However, critics of the idea suggest that fragmentation of country’s national immigration policy could have a negative impact and ‘damage the Capital’s image as a global city’. Additionally, the process of actually deciding who falls into the category of ‘skilled’ worker and therefore who should be granted a visa would be a ‘bureaucratic nightmare’. A whole host of logistical and employment issues could arise. Businesses would be required to prove they were unable to recruit for the post locally as a justifiable reason for what some may deem discriminatory behaviour.

The Government’s stance on the proposal has been that ‘We will leave the EU as one UK’ and has not encouraged fragmentation and the prospect of the UK as a federation at this time.