Mayor of London calls for ‘Covid Recovery Visa’

Sadiq Khan, The Mayor of London, is calling for a time-limited visa to help maintain critical services while UK workers are recruited and trained, after Brexit and the pandemic have left thousands of businesses with a shortage of workers.

The Mayor is also calling for devolved immigration powers and more freedom of movement for EU and UK young people in a speech at a Bloomberg event.

He is the latest figure to add his voice to calls for a new ‘Covid Recovery Visa’ to address labour shortages.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the total number of job vacancies in UK reached a record high in the latest quarter, while in July the volume of online job postings in London was around 21% higher than in the previous year, rising to 43% for construction and building trades and 60% for food preparation and hospitality roles.

In the speech at Bloomberg’s ‘The Future of Global Financial Centres – The New London’ forum, he set out how the proposed visa would work, including requesting devolved powers to fill vacancies in sectors with serious shortages and extending the Youth mobility Scheme to EU nationals.

two men working

Speaking at the event, The Mayor said: ‘Many sectors that are important to our economic recovery, from hospitality to haulage, construction to culture are now under huge strain due the lack of EU workers and the Government’s immigration rules.  We know there are countless struggling businesses across London that are working hard to get back on their feet but are now simply unable to hire the staff they need.

‘Given the urgency and the scale of the challenge, I’m calling on the Government to change its immigration system so that it meets our economic needs and helps our businesses. This must include introducing a “Covid Recovery Visa” to help attract international workers into key roles to support our economic recovery.  London has unique needs when it comes to attracting workers from around the world – and so a more tailored, dynamic approach is urgently required.

‘When it comes to immigration, many politicians seem to be too scared to argue for what they know is needed.  The truth is that a flexible migration system that can attract talent from around the world will always be crucial to London’s competitiveness and our ongoing success.’

In related news, lending to small businesses outside London through the government backed Start Up Loans scheme has passed the £600m milestone, helping to create jobs, expand businesses and level up areas.

Photo by Etienne Girardet


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