It is More Important Than Ever for London to Attract Entrepreneurial Migrants.

The U.K. faces a labour shortage, with London at the centre of the problem. According to the Office for National Statistics, there are 1,225,000 job vacancies, a 54 percent rise on pre-COVID levels.

Recruiting from a shrinking pool of candidates is a challenge for hospitality, tourism, tech, and aviation businesses in the capital. Due to Brexit and the pandemic, 196,000 international workers left the hospitality sector. Many of these were in London.

Work visas

Increasingly, business is looking overseas to fill gaps, as illustrated by recent ONS figures which show net migration in the UK rose to 504,000 in the year to June 2022, a surge higher than pre-Brexit levels. While much of the increase was attributable to special visa routes for migrants from Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong, 23% of the increase was due to skilled workers coming to the UK legally under the Skilled Worker visa from outside the EU, particularly to work in the health and care sector.

Despite this rise in overseas workers, the last six months have seen a significant amount of anti-immigration messaging from certain sections of the government, particularly the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, who aims to lower the number of unskilled, illegal and dependent migrants coming to Britain and voiced reservations about allowing more visa flexibility for Indian students and entrepreneurs.

Migration and London

The anti-migration sentiment is something that has always confounded me. For more than 10 years my legal firm has helped thousands of people come to the UK to work where they have invested and worked hard and contributed hugely, paying into the system and in many cases establishing their own successful businesses which employ others and increase tax revenues.

The positive effects of legal migration on cities are evident in London arguably more so than anywhere else in the world. London is one of the world’s truly multicultural metropolises. The UK’s migrant population is concentrated in London. Around 35% of people living in the UK who were born abroad live in the capital city while around 37% of people living in London were born outside the UK. London is economically vibrant because of migration, not despite it.

Migrant Entrepreneurs

When I came to the UK as a migrant from a poor part of India my main priority was to work and build a better life. Until you’ve experienced poverty, it’s hard to understand how much it can influence an individual’s drive to succeed. For as long as I can remember, I was determined to create a better life for myself and my family, no matter what. This mindset is shared by so many migrants from similar backgrounds.

I arrived in London in May 2003, on my own with no contacts and no support and £1500. Within 15 days, I started working and became self-sustained. I managed to save £50 to send to my mother so she could buy the first fridge she’d ever owned.

I worked hard, at times seven days a week for 18 hours a day, with no holidays. In September 2008, at the start of the financial crisis, I started an immigration law firm from a corner of my bedroom in a rented property in Hounslow with an investment of £30 for two chairs and a table from IKEA. Today the company is a multi-award-winning, Legal 500 with 5000+ clients and we employ several staff.

My success story is far from unusual. Nearly all my friends from similar humble backgrounds who came to the UK legally are now very well-paid professionals who pay handsome amounts of tax. They are successful entrepreneurs and law-abiding citizens. Some of them have created many jobs in the UK.

Migrants bring competitiveness, resilience, and innovation to the economy. Some of them also bring direct investment. These are the exact qualities that London needs in order to keep its place as an economic and cultural powerhouse. London needs migrants and the more that it can attract, the more competitive it will be on a global level.



































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