According to a major new poll of the London Public, Business leaders and Borough Councillors, Immigration is seen as having had a positive impact overall over the past five years, with the growth of International student numbers seen as good and highly-skilled workers seen as the most important group for the capital’s economy.
Regarding possible changes to UK Immigration policy, the survey, conducted by ComRes for the London Tomorrow thought leadership initiative, found broad support for giving London more control over the immigration of international workers to the capital and for making it easy for EU nationals with a job offer to move to the UK to work after Brexit. Making it easy to hire staff in occupations where there are shortages such as Doctors, Teachers or Nurses was seen as a high priority for a future UK system.
The areas that Immigration is perceived to have had the most positive impact on London over the past five years were the ‘Economy’: 94% of councillors, 63% of businesses and 66% of Londoners, the ‘NHS’: 90% of councillors, 58% of businesses and 59% of Londoners and ‘Business Innovation’: 76% of councillors, 54% of businesses and 55% of Londoners.
However, the survey also revealed that the areas that people would be most pessimistic if immigration were reduced were the ‘NHS’: 76% of London councillors, 57% of businesses and 50% of Londoners, the ‘UK economy’: 73% of councillors, 50% of businesses and 49% of Londoners, and ‘London’s attractiveness as place to work’ with two-thirds of Councillors (66%) and around half of Businesses and Londoners citing this as something they would be pessimistic about.
Noting the results, Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said:
“Immigration has underpinned London’s economic, social and cultural development over centuries, making it the great city it is today. Economic research that LCCI commissioned found non-UK nationals form a quarter of the London workforce, compared to one eighth for the rest of the UK.
And yet, despite this, the recent MAC report on EEA Migration did not recognise London’s unique immigration footprint. Moving towards a post-Brexit horizon it is essential that practical proposals to renew and refresh the UK Immigration system are considered to keep London globally competitive”.