Sadiq Khan calls for fast-track visas for immigrant workers coming to London

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The Mayor of London has called on the Prime Minister to give City Hall the power to fast-track the visa process for immigrants wishing to work in the capital.

Speaking at a London Chamber of Commerce and Industry event last night, Sadiq Khan said London should be given its own devolved powers in order to fast-track skilled immigrants into industries in which there are labour shortages.

As CityAM reports, the Mayor also called for the minimum income threshold for skilled immigrants to be revised.

Currently, non-EU immigrants must prove they will earn at least £30,000 a year in order to secure a visa. Under the government's current plans, that threshold will also apply to EU citizens after Brexit.

Khan is calling on the Prime Minister to revise the threshold down to £21,000, the equivalent of the London Living Wage.

The Mayor said: “If the government’s proposed immigration changes go ahead, then I’m fearful for the impact they’ll have on the fabric of our city.

“The impact on the construction sector would make the housing crisis worse. And the impact on public services, including our schools and the NHS, could have devastating consequences for years to come.

“The new Prime Minister should instead fully recognise the positive impact immigration and freedom of movement has had in London and the UK and immediately take steps to reform the immigration system in a way that enables us to unlock the potential of Londoners.”

Employers have also criticised the current visa system. In June, the UK's tech trade body claimed two new visa schemes intended to attract talent were "not fit for purpose".

Meanwhile in February, Revolut CEO Nik Storonsky called for the establishment of an entirely new visa scheme for developers and data scientists post-Brexit.