London mayor Boris Johnson has submitted a plan to the Home Office for a London Visa that would make it easier for tech experts and fashion gurus around the world to get a job in the capital.
The new visa would allow talented developers and coders to get an official endorsement from Tech City that would enable them to bypass the visa application process that is currently in place.
The mayor argues that London should be given 100 of the existing 1,000 “Tier 1, Exceptional Talent” visas, which currently target professionals at the top of their game in the fields of science and art.
As it stands the current bodies that are allowed to allocate the endorsements include the Royal Society, the Arts Council England, the British Academy and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Under the new proposal, Tech City, the Fashion Council and London Design Festival would be allowed to choose the 100 applicants and then provide official endorsement to speed-up their entry into the UK.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Johnson said: “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.”
Several UK tech start-ups have complained in the past that it is difficult to recruit talent from outside the EU because of the bureaucracy involved.
Kit Malthouse, deputy London mayor, admitted that 100 visas was a low starting point but suggested that there was room for growth in future years if the system proved successful.
In fields such as technology and fashion, individual talent is vital to the sector’s success, he said, adding: “We only need to find one Steve Jobs and we have an Apple on our hands.”