DELAYS to visa approvals are holding back the capital, Britain’s top financial services lobby group warned yesterday.
TheCityUK said that short-term visas that allow overseas workers to undertake short-term projects in London were facing delays of as long as 12 weeks to receive approval.
The body said that post-Brexit rules had made the system more challenging, with a shortage of English language tests – now part of the visa process – an example of the additional administration involved in bringing over staff for even the most short-term of projects.
The body wants reform to the ‘Intra-Corporate Transferee’ rules which they say are holding back growth.
Visas are currently technically required, for instance, to bring international managers into the UK to meet new clients or customers.
“Being open and accessible to the world’s best talent is what makes the UK a top international financial centre. The country’s current short-term mobility rules make it hard for businesses to draw on the strengths of their global talent for short-term UK-based projects.” Nicola Watkinson, the body’s managing director of international trade and investment, said last night.
The body said a further frustration was the arbitrary permissions attached to different visas, with a business visitor visa allowing the holder to meet clients, but not work with colleagues ahead of a meeting.