It is no doubt that Boris Johnson is very instrumental in making changes for the better in London. First he removed the problematic ‘Bendy Bus’, he then introduced the cost effective and health promoting ‘Boris’ Bikes’, and now he is in talks with the Home Office over the possible creation of what he is calling, ‘The London Visa’ – to attract business talent to the capital.
London is a hub for business and creativity in the UK and is a city of opportunity. Arguably some of the best art schools, fashion houses and technical businesses in the world reside in London. Boris’ idea involves the allocation of 100 of the existing 1000 visas which are usually allocated to world-class artists, performers and scientists, to go towards helping the ‘best and brightest’ tech experts and fashion designers to find jobs in the capital. Kit Malthouse, the deputy Mayor for business, has the view that 100 is a low starting point and that there is definitely room for growth. Applicants will be given special endorsements which will speed up the process of the current sluggish visa system.
Boris Johnson stated, ‘it is a clear message to the elite of Silicon Valley or to the fashionistas of Beijing, that London is the place they should come to develop ideas, build new businesses and be part of an epi-centre of global talent’.
The idea is being put forward as Boris would like to try and help auspicious fashion houses and hi-tech start ups as they struggle with the highly bureaucratic and expensive visa system in place at this time. Malthouse also stated that the ‘sclerotic’ system has had an adverse effect on student decision making and has lead to a paucity in foreign students coming to London despite the educational excellence.
This is not the first time that this idea has been put forward. Last year Boris raised the idea only for the Home Office to circumvent the issue and ultimately for it to be shut down and deemed ‘unworkable’. This is clearly something Boris believes would be beneficial to the economy of the UK as it appears to make his teeth itch that Chinese tourists spend approximately 8 times more in Paris than they do in London. It is evident that a slight widening of the doors on immigration could help to boost the economy of the capital.