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UK businesses want exclusive visa system for post-Brexit London

Staff Writer |
Business leaders in London have proposed a plan for a London-only visa system for foreign workers to use after the UK's exit from the European Union (EU).

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The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), London's largest independent networking and business support organization, called for the city to have its own Capital Work Permits, which would be visas allowing EU nationals and other foreign workers to work in the city.

According to LCCI's proposals, the permits would be administered by the London Work Permit Sponsorship Body newly formed by the Office of Mayor and the established main London Business Organizations, and they would allow workers to work anywhere within the city's 33 boroughs.

More than 771,000 EU nationals work in London, whose status over the coming years has been unclear since the UK voted to leave the EU in the June 23 referendum.

As EU citizens, they are currently able to work throughout the UK without the need for a work visa. However, the British government has talked of restricting access for foreigners to the UK labor market once Brexit becomes reality.

The largest presence of EU nationals in the London workforce is in construction, where they make up 30 percent of the total workers, but they also have a significant presence in hospitality and distribution (20 percent) as well as in finance (14 percent).

It is estimated that 160,000 of these workers would not meet visa requirements under existing immigration rules.

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