Access to skilled workers is a key concern for London's businesses

Oliver Gill
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The LCCI called on the government to devolve some immigration powers to the Mayor of London's office (Source: Getty)

London businesses have called on the government to act decisively to loosen non-EU immigration restrictions as part of negotiations to leave the EU.

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) polled more than 500 businesses on their worries on employment and trading. Nearly half felt that looser immigration restrictions on workers from outside the EU should be a medium or high priority.

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LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge urged action from the government.

“Speaking to our members we have been left with a very real sense that they want policymakers to act decisively and we need to focus on what needs to be done now to ensure that the whole country prospers in years to come.

“There are some very tangible concerns here and they need to be acted on, not placating. We need the Government to lead the vision for London, act boldly and act now,” he said.

Restrictions on labour from EU countries was less of a concern, with 31 per cent seeing this as a high priority in Prime Minister Theresa May's negotiations to leave the EU.

Read more: London business group warns immigration charges will open up skills gap

However, one business leader did highlight concerns about ensuring the London businesses can draw talent from the continent: “We are very reliant on being able to attract and hang onto some of the best talent in Europe. It has been easy for them to come here and enjoy it and now they are concerned. We now face some real difficulties to keep our staff happy.”

The LCCI made a series of recommendations that included the government setting up a "Brexit help desk" together with the LCCI and other business groups, as well as devolving power to the Mayor of London's office to issue work visas and permits.

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