More voices can now be heard against immigration cap

`It will prevent the City from flourishing’, says an international legal practice

25th August 2010:
A day after UK employers joined forces against immigration cap, more business, law and other organisations have come out to say it will prevent the City from flourishing

The Group CEO of Norton Rose Group, Peter Martyr has asserted: `As an international legal practice we see many benefits, to our clients as well as our practice, in employing legal staff in our London office from a diverse range of both EU and non-EU nationalities.

`This helps our London office offer our clients strong cross-border expertise and capabilities in line with the current importance of cross-border transactions that are driven out of London.

`And our approach to nurturing non-EU talent means that we can at a later stage move legal staff, with London experience and training, into other non-EU jurisdictions to strengthen our service offering to clients in those markets’.

His comments have been published in CITY A.M.; and come soon after Law Society asserted the cap on immigration may eventually result in “legal work” moving elsewhere and damaging London’s competitiveness as a global financial centre.

The development is significant as the business lobby is building up its case in favour of having doors open for high-flyer staff, and is confident of winning, even as the government is carrying on with consultation on the issue.

The intense petitioning against the immigration cap is expected to show results soon. Following an unrelenting crusade from the CBI and other employer groups for Britain to keep the doors open to skilled overseas workers, the lobbying by anti-immigration groups may eventually see mediocre results.

The Law Society too has moved in claiming “legal work” will shift if outstanding workforce from other countries reaches Heathrow, only to be told they need to take a u turn.

Already, the Labour Market Outlook report says employers prefer migrants over the British workers to fill jobs, as they believe the standards are declining fast among graduates and school leavers.

Martyr says `like many other international businesses in the City, Norton Rose Group is managing the impact of the new immigration caps, which were introduced this summer by the UK government.

`A new temporary cap was announced on 29 June and interim limits came into force on 19 July, lasting through to the end of March 2011. In particular, there was a limit imposed on the number of Tier 2 (General) visas that sponsors can assign to non-EU migrant workers.

`Given the current economic environment and the challenges that the City faces to its status as an international business hub, the City’s response to the proposed immigration policy changes should be carefully considered. Continued support to maintain and strengthen London as an ideal venue for global commerce is critical.

`A key factor which enables that international potential is the City’s ability to hire and retain talent from beyond the EU. The business being driven out of London does not limit itself to within EU borders. The City’s global business community benefit from being able to tap the expertise of a London-based US or Russian lawyer, equally as much as a German or French lawyer….

`It is not just the limit which causes us concern, but also the fact that we will likely have to work with a limited ability to know future annual visa limits that go beyond the current visa year.

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