Boris Johnson proposes London visas
10 September 2013
In plans submitted to the Home Office this week, the London Mayor has proposed the introduction of ‘London visas’ for the "best and brightest" talents around the world.
Between 6 April 2013 and 5 April 2014, there is a limit of 1,000 visas under the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) category, which need to be endorsed by a competent body like the British Academy. These visas are usually offered to world-class talents in the fields of science and the arts.
In the Mayor’s initial plans, 100 of these visas would be allocated to London. City Hall would work with the endorsing organisations to choose the best applicants. The selected individuals would then be given official endorsement to speed up their entry into the UK, which could reduce the wait by weeks or even months.
Boris Johnson told the Financial Times: "It is a clear message to the elite of Silicon Valley or the fashionistas of Beijing that London is the place they should come to develop ideas, build new businesses and be part of an epicentre for global talent."
This could be welcome news to businesses and entrepreneurs, some of which argue that the current costs of recruiting talent from outside the EU are too high because of the expensive visa system.
Deputy London Mayor Kit Malthouse said that this proposed scheme could be expanded in the future, adding: "We only need to find one Steve Jobs and we have an Apple on our hands". He commented that individual talent can make a substantial difference in fields such as design and technology.