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London’s global edge has kept it punching well above its weight

London job offer snap-backs as visa requirements come into force
London job offer snap-backs as visa requirements come into force

You’ve got the job, you’ve told your friends, you’ve even put it on your LinkedIn – and then it all falls apart. Something of a nightmare, and not just for the ego but it’s happening to foreign-born graduates of UK universities with visa issues.

HSBC and Deloitte are the latest to pull job offers, driven by the government’s new immigration starting salary rules. KPMG went first last month. Self-defeating, thy name is Britain.

There are two sides to this story: some have argued that without the tap of “cheap” foreign labour, firms based here will hire Brits. KPMG said as much. But London has never been a “Buy British” place.

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We’re a small island in the North Atlantic with a convenient time zone, a universal-ish language and above all a global outlook.

That’s why, from day dot, our capital has punched above its global weight. It’s why we have some of the biggest financial institutions in the world, some of the best restaurants in the world, and a wildly overheated housing market. For good or ill, this is a global city. It won’t succeed as anything but.

The irony is that, other than the starting salary nonsense, post-Brexit immigration policy has broadly been success.

Tech firms in particular have found life easier than they suspected. The details and bureaucracy not nearly as bad as feared. But whilst small boats cross the channel and dominate the airwaves, the rhetoric instead ramps up.

The government’s new visa policies to get a job are damaging around the edges, but they’re more problematic as signalling.

In fact, it’s that that matters most. The noises off from our politicians have done little to tell Lithuanians, Lebanese and Lesothan entrepreneurs that the UK is the place for them to get a job. That has to change now.