According to one of the most prominent political figures of London, the post-Brexit prospects of the City are being affected by the immigration system of hte United Kingdom.
The chair of the key Policy and Resources Committee of the Corporation of London, Catherine McGuinness, says that the limitations on access and the controversial policy on “hostile environment” for illegal migrants, which is now apparently abandoned, are putting off the international talent that the Square Mile will require in order to keep its pre-eminence after the withdrawal from the European Union.
McGuinness stated: “There are a number of areas where City is right at the cutting edge, but we are going to have to work really hard to keep that. And one thing we hear from India and China is questions around our immigration system and how easy it will be for people to come in.”
She continued: “People are being deterred from coming here or staying here because of the message we are sending out, so we need to work on that. We are not yet being warm enough to our overseas workers.”
The comments of McGuinness come amidst the Windrush row, in which the “hostile environment” immigration policy of PM May as Home Secretary was criticised after citizens of the commonwealth who are working and living in the United Kingdom were told that they may potentially face deportation because of a lack of official paperwork.
McGuinness added: “I think it’s people like tech entrepreneurs, who might have thought of coming and setting up a business and a family here, who may now think twice, because they’re not sure we will show the same commitment to them as they will show to us.”
She said, however, that she was “heartened” by the comments that were made last weekend from Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary. He said that he wants an immigration system that is “fairer, more compassionate.”
McGuinness was once a partner in a City law firm. She also criticised the “political turmoil” that is surrounding the current Brexit negotiations of the government. She says that “we have stalled again after a very positive few months.”
McGuinness added: “It has been very interesting through this progress we have seen remarkable unity from the EU27 and the commission and we have seen disunity from this side.”