Let London have more control on Immigration

Tuesday 18 December 2018

  • Support for giving London more control over international workers migration
  • Desire to make it easier to hire key staff like Doctors, Nurses & Teachers 
  • International students seen as having positive impact on London
  • Concern that reduced Immigration would impact London’s attractiveness

Ahead of the anticipated release of the Government’s Immigration White Paper, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for London City Hall to have a new role in administering immigration for the capital.

Polling for LCCI of 517 London business leaders, 154 borough councillors and 1,005 members of the public found that immigration is seen as having had a positive impact overall over the past five years. 

Regarding possible changes to UK Immigration policy, the survey, conducted by ComRes for LCCI’s 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.

 Noting the results, Colin Stanbridge, LCCI Chief Executive 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 Migration Advisory Committee 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”.

"Our polling clearly shows support for making it easier to hire staff in occupations where there are shortages, such as Doctors, Teachers or Nurses, as a high priority for a future UK system. There is support for making it easy for EU nationals with a job offer to move to the UK for work after Brexit. To achieve this a new immigration system should have a degree of regionalisation – City Hall is better placed than Whitehall to cater for London’s unique migration requirements".

Full survey questions used by ComRes for London Tomorrow research: 

 Q: To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about immigration?

  • Immigration has had a positive impact on the London economy over the past ten years:
    Agree: 91% councillors; 66% business leaders; 68% Londoners
  • The immigration system for people coming to the UK from outside the EU is too complex:
    Agree: 73% councillors; 53% business leaders; 49% Londoners
  • The Government’s current immigration policy makes it difficult for businesses to hire the staff they need from overseas:
    Agree: 79% councillors; 53% business leaders; 51% Londoners
  • Growth in the numbers of international students coming to UK has been good for London:
    Agree: 90% councillors; 67% business leaders; 71% Londoners
  • The number of people immigrating to the UK over the past ten years has been too high:
    Agree: 27% councillors; 56% business leaders; 55% Londoners

Q: To what extent, if at all, do you support or oppose each of the following changes to UK immigration policy?

  • Removing international students from the Government’s official immigration figures:
    Agree: 79% councillors; 53% business leaders; 48% Londoners
  • Giving London more control over the immigration of international workers to the capital:
    Agree: 68% councillors; 65% business leaders; 67% Londoners
  • Making it easy for EU nationals with a job offer to move to the UK for work after Brexit:
    Agree: 91% councillors; 77% business leaders; 76% Londoners
  • Removing the ‘immigration skills charge’:
    Agree: 62% councillors; 57% business leaders; 51% Londoners
  • Giving students from outside the EU more time to find a job in the UK after graduating from a UK university, rather than the current four months:
    Agree: 73% councillors; 56% business leaders; 61% Londoners

Q: To what extent, if at all, do you think that each of the following should be a priority for the UK’s future immigration system?

  • Basing immigration decisions on immigrants’ occupation and skill levels:
    High priority: 41% councillors; 52% business leaders; 42% Londoners
  • Basing immigration decisions on the UK’s needs for particular skills and jobs, rather than on fixed immigration targets:
    High priority: 70% councillors; 66% business leaders; 50% Londoners
  • Ensuring that the immigration system takes into account regional variations in demand for different types of workers:
    High priority: 44% councillors; 36% business leaders; 34% Londoners
  • Making it easy to hire staff in occupations with shortages like doctors, teachers or nurses:
    High priority: 85% councillors; 75% business leaders; 70% Londoners
  • Encouraging international students to study at UK universities:
    High priority: 55% councillors; 33% business leaders; 31% Londoners
  • Encouraging wealthy individuals to move to and invest in the UK:
    High priority: 23% councillors; 30% business leaders; 25% Londoners
  • Ensuring that it is easy for UK nationals to work in the EU:
    High priority: 64% councillors; 50% business leaders; 47% Londoners

Q: What impact do you think Immigration has had on each of the following areas in London over the past five years?

  • London’s economy:
    Positive: 94% councillors; 63% business leaders; 66% Londoners
  • Wages in London:
    Positive: 35% councillors; 32% business leaders; 28% Londoners
  • The proportion of people in London who are employed:
    Positive: 69% councillors; 48% business leaders; 47% Londoners
  • Innovation by London businesses:
    Positive: 76% councillors; 54% business leaders; 55% Londoners
  • The NHS:
    Positive: 90% councillors; 58% business leaders; 59% Londoners

Q: After the UK leaves the EU, some believe levels of immigration to the UK will reduce. If this were to happen, to what extent do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the effect this would have on each of the following?

  • London’s economy:
    Pessimistic: 69% councillors; 47% business leaders; 46% Londoners
  • The UK economy:
    Pessimistic: 73% councillors; 50% business leaders; 49% Londoners
  • The NHS:
    Pessimistic 76% councillors; 57% business leaders; 50% Londoners
  • The competitiveness of London businesses:
    Pessimistic: 69% councillors; 47% business leaders; 44% Londoners
  • London’s reputation as a location to start a new business:
    Pessimistic: 68% councillors; 47% business leaders; 47% Londoners
  • London’s attractiveness as a place to work for people outside the UK:
    Pessimistic: 66% councillors; 55% business leaders; 49% Londoners

Q: How important, if at all, do you think each of the following groups are to London’s economy?

  • High-skilled non-UK workers travelling to the UK to work temporarily:
    Important: 94% councillors; 79% business leaders; 79% Londoners
  • High-skilled non-UK workers travelling to the UK to work permanently:
    Important: 95% councillors; 86% business leaders; 86% Londoners
  • Semi or unskilled non-UK workers travelling to the UK to work temporarily:
    Important: 73% councillors; 56% business leaders; 54% Londoners
  • Semi or unskilled non-UK workers travelling to the UK to work permanently:
    71% councillors; 56% business leaders; 57% Londoners
  • Students from outside the UK travelling to study at UK Universities:
    Important: 83% councillors; 60% business leaders; 70% Londoners.
     

ENDS

Media contact
Steven Reilly-Hii
T: +44 (0)207 203 1897  
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: sreilly-hii@londonchamber.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  1. Colin Stanbridge of LCCI is available for further comment and interview
  2. 'London Tomorrow: Towards the Megacity' is a thought leaders panel by London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in association with PwC and supported by London City Airport.
  3. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders
  4. ComRes interviewed a total of 154 London Councillors; 517 business leaders and 1,005 London adults between 10 August – 3 September 2018 online. All three surveys were representative of their respective audiences.  ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com