EU nationals currently employed in London should be issued with a visa to allow them to remain working in London after Brexit, according to proposals from London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
The plans are detailed in a new report, Permits, Points and Visas, underpinned by an economic study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). It found that a quarter of London's workforce is made up of migrant workers, compared to 8% in the rest of the country.
LCCI is calling for London to be designated a "targeted migration area" and have a dedicated skills shortage list to manage the capital's labour requirements.
LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: "Cebr's analysis reveals the significant contribution that migrant workers make to the modern London economy - indeed they represent one quarter of the workforce. Given their role and input it is vital to London's future that a degree of flexibility is applied if government amends the UK immigration system.
"In the approaching post-Brexit scenario, for London to remain competitive, we need to not only recruit the very best but also to be able to identify where we have skills shortages and act swiftly to address these."
Cebr partner Vicky Pryce said: "Our research shows that London is unique in terms of its high dependence on migrant workers across a range of occupations - both low skill and high skill. There is very little evidence to suggest that businesses will be able to fill skills shortages in the absence of migration. It would take years to train up the required workforce domestically, yet there are immediate needs to build more homes and provide key public services. A regionalised approach to immigration policy could help ensure London's businesses can access the skills they need to grow."
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