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London businesses seek visa reforms

Almost 50% of London-based businesses are calling for the UK government to reform the Tier 2 visa system over concerns about a shortage of skilled workers.

A recent business survey was carried out by KPMG and the Confederation of British Industry into skills shortage in London. The results show that over half of the companies asked have had difficulty in finding workers with relevant skills for their business; This is especially true for STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and maths). Employers also as always are looking for literacy, numeracy and communication skills.

'As we finally move into a period of more sustained growth, many businesses, including our own, face a larger skills deficit and could struggle to find the talent they need to grow and prosper. Combined with the higher housing and transport costs, the war for talent is getting increasingly complex for employers based in one of the most vibrant but expensive cities in the world.' - Richard Reid, London Chairman of KPMG.

Skills shortage

Businesses are again calling for visa reforms; they are having to look outside the EU to find people with the necessary skills. Lucy Haynes, Director of CBI London points out that 'Having the right skills to drive the capital's economy forward is an absolutely core ingredient in the recipe for continued success. To keep the capital internationally competitive, as well as attractive to skilled workers, policymakers need to look at further streamlining the visa system. We would also like to see the Mayor take urgent action to free up land for house building and invest more in the city's transport infrastructure.'

Richard Reid of KPMG insists that visa reforms are important for securing the skilled workers required by London businesses. 'Being a global hub and with two out of three London businesses struggling to get the high skilled workers they need in this country, easing the barriers of our complex visa system to ensure we attract the best global talent needed to compete on a world stage is now vital. Failure to act swiftly on the skills agenda will undoubtedly see London slip in its global reputation as a world class business destination to the highly educated centres of the likes of Shanghai, Singapore, and Mumbai.'