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In Brexit Britain, Businesses Seek Work Visas Just for London

Expecting a crackdown on immigration, the capital’s Chamber of Commerce says the city still needs foreign workers.
relates to In Brexit Britain, Businesses Seek Work Visas Just for London
Stephen Hird/Reuters

Could London build its own work visa system? A plan proposed Thursday by British business leaders suggests that London could benefit from having different migration rules than the rest of the country, for reasons which may well sound familiar to American readers. Following the electorate’s narrow vote for Brexit in June, the British government is likely to orchestrate a crackdown on immigration, at the very least introducing some controls on migration from other E.U. states.

This may go down well in some quarters, even if the reasons behind the pro-Leave vote were far wider and more complex than a simple yearning for less population movement. Restricting migration nonetheless promises trouble for the economy of overwhelmingly pro-Remain London, whose (ill-distributed) wealth relies on the free movement of workers for jobs and trade at all levels of society. Sean McKee, policy director of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the body that created the proposal, bluntly outlined the London businesses’ current angst in the British media: