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Dragon: Immigration is what makes UK 'brilliant'

Theo Paphitis, a British entrepreneur and television personality, best known for his role on BBC TV show The Dragon's Den, says that immigration is 'a really important part of what makes [the UK] so brilliant'.

Mr Paphitis, who is an immigrant from Cyprus, also said that claims that immigrants take jobs from UK citizens are 'rubbish'. He said 'There is absolutely clear evidence, published many times, that the people that are signing on the dole can't or won't fill those roles so that's not the case.

Mr Paphitis also told online newspaper The Huffington Post that the UK is an excellent place for foreign-born entrepreneurs to do business.

'The UK ticks a huge amount of boxes'

He said 'Why wouldn't they come here? The UK is a huge market and it's very attractive and encourages investment and I'm not sure why someone wouldn't want to come here…, the time zone and the attractiveness of the tax regime? The UK ticks a huge amount of boxes'.

Mr Paphitis is a Greek Cypriot who came to the UK at the age of nine in 1968 with his parents and two brothers. He attended school in London working in retail and insurance before setting up a property finance company at the age of 23.

In 1995, after building a successful mobile phone business, he bought the stationary chain Rymans. It has some 230 branches an is worth £40m. He also owns the Robert Dyas homeware chain and a lingerie retailer. He is said to be worth more than £200m.

Immigration is' an important part of what makes the UK brilliant'

He told Huffington Post, 'the doors were open for me in this country to come here, with my family, and to start my businesses here. Immigration is a really important part of what makes this country so brilliant'.

Mr Paphitis spent seven years on the UK version of The Dragons' Den; a show that allows entrepreneurial businessmen and inventors to pitch their ideas to five 'dragons' or investors.

The investors are successful businessmen who decide whether to invest in the products or ideas that are presented in front of them.

Investor

Between 2005 and 2012, on Dragon's Den, Mr Paphitis backed 49 different businesses and invested over £2m.

He is now promoting the UK National Enterprise Challenge which will allow school children from schools across the UK to pitch their business ideas to judges.

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