City minister calls for 'frictionless' immigration rules for financial sector after Brexit

Views Of The Ever Changing London Skyline
Immigration is the top concern for the City post-Brexit (Source: Getty)

City firms need "frictionless" access to overseas workers after Brexit, according to a Treasury minister who called immigration a "force for good".

Speaking during a debate on the shape of the the UK's future immigration policy, City minister John Glen talked up the importance of the financial sector being able to fill gaps in key roles.

His comments came after the chief executive of financial and professional services lobby group The City UK made it clear any potential restrictions on migration after Brexit was the number one concern in the industry he represents.

It follows a Cabinet decision that EU and non-EU citizens should be treated the same when it comes to immigration rules after Brexit, but it is not clear whether there will be a limit on numbers or restrictions in key sectors.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference, Glen said: "If City institutions are going to be able to function efficiently they need to have a frictionless means of bringing people in to fill those key gaps, and that's not just confined to high net-worth individuals."

In the same meeting, Glen hit out at the manner in which some of his colleagues had exploited concerns over immigration.

"Sometimes the temptation is in order to build a rapport with a certain populist message we say things to court that, rather than actually to challenge it when we know factually it's not correct," said Glen.

On a day when chancellor Philip Hammond insisted the Conservatives were the "party of business", Miles Celic, chief executive of The City UK, implored the government to listen to the financial sectors concerns over restricting immigration after Brexit.

He said: "It's the number one issue for what is the most successful industry in the UK.

"When you talk to chief executives or chairmen or business owners whether they are SMEs or the head of large multi-nationals, whether they are British companies or European companies or international companies based in the UK, the thing that brings them to Britain and the thing that keeps them in Britain is access to an unrivalled talent pool."

Related articles