Britain's financial sector calls for six-month staff visa

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: The Canary Wharf financial district is seen in east London

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's financial sector has called on the government to ease visa requirements on overseas staff who want to work up to six months in the country to maintain global competitiveness.

A Global Talent Mobility report from TheCityUK, City of London Corporation and consultants EY on Thursday set out ways to overcome "practical challenges" being faced by banks, fintech and insurers in hiring sufficient talent.

A "hybrid" short-term business visa would allow staff to work in Britain for a short time without the red tape involved with full work visa requirements, the report said.

"Without it, we will not be able to innovate in key growth areas like fintech or green finance, nor build out our international trading networks," said Miles Celic, CEO of TheCityUK.

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

Since the introduction of Britain's new immigration system in January, financial and related professional services firms are seeing significant cost increases to securing the high-skilled talent they need to compete on the global stage, the report said.

Graphic-Global Talent Mobility Report - https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/dwvkrdnwgpm/Global%20Talent%20Mobility%20Report.PNG

Worries about recruiting have become central for finance after Britain fully left the European Union last December, largely cutting off the City from the continent.

Ending the free movement of EU workers in Britain is a central tenet of Brexit, and Britain has just reluctantly agreed temporary visas for 5,000 foreign truck drivers until Christmas after gas pumps ran dry across the country.

Britain's finance ministry has already said it would introduce a "fast track" work visa in the fintech sector and is reviewing rules on intra-company staffing transfers.

"There continued to be support for a broader view to be taken in free trade agreements that could facilitate the assignment of employees for a short period," the report said.

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

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