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London Mayor Sadiq Khan campaigns for ‘fair and flexible’ visa system

04 December 2017 #Immigration

The London Mayor has kicked off a week long trade mission to India and Pakistan by criticising the British government’s current stringent visa policy. Speaking in Mumbai, Sadiq Khan said he was “lobbying” with the government to change its visa policy and it was in London’s best interests to keep Britain open to highly skilled workers.

Over recent years, the government has developed a strict immigration policy which has resulted in tougher hurdles to work in the UK – even for highly skilled migrants.  

As an example, the government scrapped the Post Study Work visa in 2012. This was a way for international graduates from UK universities to remain in the UK for a year after graduation. The PSW visa would allow the graduate to gain some UK work experience before returning home or applying for a different visa.

Statistics show that the number of Indian students coming to London has fallen by over 40% since 2010 partly as a result of this change and now stands at 4.705 (2015/16).

In a speech to business leaders and entrepreneurs in Mumbai, the Mayor said:

“I fully appreciate the real disappointment that many Indians have felt about the British Government’s decision to make it more difficult for Indians to gain visas to work and study in the UK.

The British Prime Minister – Theresa May – got it badly wrong with her decision to close this route a few years ago.

Because it’s not only led to a substantial drop in Indian students coming to our universities – it’s in danger of starving my city of great talent.”

Sadiq Khan is campaigning for change and wants:

  • A new 2 year visa, targeted at start ups and SME’s with no annual limit on numbers which could be used by London universities during recruitment
  • Lifting the capital requirements of between £50,000 an £200,000 for Entrepreneurs until their visas are up for renewal – encouraging innovating, risk taking companies with ideas but little liquid capital
  • Boosting the existing authorised exchange programme to allow in talented individuals for 2 years, in the hope they will increase potential for future investment

The London Mayor has always been an advocate of a flexible visa system and wants London to remain open to global entrepreneurial talent.



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Afeefah Shabbir

Afeefah Shabbir
Senior Solicitor

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