Sadiq Khan warns £30k salary cap on foreign workers would cause 'scary' shortages in London

'Not just our economy but our public services will suffer hugely,’ the London mayor says

Toyin Owoseje
Monday 12 November 2018 16:29
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Sadiq Khan has warned that London’s economy and public services will suffer “scary” staff shortages if a £30,000 minimum salary threshold is imposed on foreign workers post-Brexit.

The London mayor, who has thrown his support behind a fresh referendum on any Brexit deal, said there could be an exodus of skilled foreign workers from areas including construction, hotels and restaurants if such drastic changes were made to the UK’s current immigration policy.

He added the move would also exacerbate the already critical vacancy levels in nursing and social care.

“If they are rigid with the MAC report and give preferential treatment to those who earn above £30,000, not just our economy but our public services will suffer hugely,” he told the Evening Standard during his three-day visit to Berlin and Paris to spread the message that “London remains open” to trade and investment.

His remarks were in response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendation that the government scraps the freedom of movement which currently gives preferential treatment to workers from the European Economic Area (EEA).

The immigration shake-up would see the freedom of movement replaced with one rule for all foreign workers, both from the EU and worldwide. Although there would be no limit on the number of foreigners given general work visas, also known as Tier 2 visas, a £30,000 minimum salary required for those from outside the EEA would be extended to all migrants.

Sadiq Khan (R) met with Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller and Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena to discuss the consequences of Brexit, immigration and the growth of right-wing populism.

Mr Khan believes the guidance ignores the reality of London’s dependence on EU citizens.

The politician added that the change would deprive the capital, where about half of all jobs are for under £30,000, of essential workers. Three-quarters of EU workers currently in the UK would have been ineligible to come and work in Britain if a future government acted on the MAC’s advice.

“This idea of it being even more difficult for us to recruit construction workers is scary,” he said.

Mr Khan’s remarks come days after he called Theresa May's potential Brexit deal “bad for London”.

“Theresa May has failed to put the national interest ahead of internal party management in the negotiations and is leading us towards either a bad Brexit deal or, worse still, no deal at all,” he said.

“This is a lose-lose situation for Britain and the EU, putting jobs, growth and living standards at risk. As mayor, I will continue to stand up for Londoners – not only by engaging directly with Europe, but by putting pressure on the government to change its damaging approach to Brexit and fighting for the rights of all EU citizens who have made London their home.”

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