UK financial services industry calls for easing visa requirements to stay competitive

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LONDON – Britain’s financial sector has called on the government to ease visa requirements for foreign staff who wish to work for up to six months in the country in order to maintain its global competitiveness.

A Global Talent Mobility Report from TheCityUK, City of London Corporation and EY consultants on Thursday presented ways to overcome the “practical challenges” facing banks, fintechs and insurers in hiring enough talent.

A “hybrid” short-term business visa would allow staff to work in Britain for a short period without the red tape associated with full work visa requirements, according to the report.

“Without this, we will not be able to innovate in key growth areas like fintech or green finance, nor to develop our international business networks,” said Miles Celic, CEO of TheCityUK.

The report says that in UK-based financial services 19.5% of workers are international, rising to 42% in fintech, one of the finance growth areas targeted by the government.

Since the introduction of Britain’s new immigration system in January, companies in financial and related professional services have seen significant cost increases to secure the highly-skilled talent they need to compete on the global stage, according to The report.

Recruitment concerns have become central to finance after Britain left the European Union completely last December, severely cutting the city off from the mainland.

Ending the free movement of EU workers in Britain is a central principle of Brexit, and Britain has just reluctantly accepted temporary visas for 5,000 foreign truck drivers until Christmas after the Gas pumps have dried up across the country.

The UK Ministry of Finance has already announced it will introduce a fast track work visa in the FinTech sector and is reviewing the rules on intra-company staff transfers.

“There has always been support for a broader vision to be adopted in free trade agreements that could facilitate the posting of employees for a short period,” the report said.

(Reporting by Huw Jones in London; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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