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Stark new nightmare reality for non-EU bankers in the City of London

Theresa May has done the deed. The UK Border Agency has released details of its first annual limit on immigration into the UK. The results are scary.

“This is an absolute nightmare,” says the head of lateral hiring at one bank in the City. “It’s going to make it much more difficult for us to hire.”

The frightening points are as follows:

· Tier One Migrant Visas, which were previously issued to highly skilled staff meeting certain points criteria, allowing them to enter the UK even if they didn’t have a job to go to, are being totally abolished from April next year. Around 13,000 Tier One migrants are expected to come into the UK this year, so this is a BIG blow.

· Instead of Tier One Migrant Visas, a new ‘exceptional talent’ category is being introduced for particularly spectacular individuals in fields like art and academia. It is unlikely that any financial services professionals will qualify for this.

· From April 2011 anyone hired into a bank in London from outside the EU will therefore need to come in under a Tier Two General Visa. The number of Tier 2 Visas has been increased by 6,500 to take account of this. However, they haven’t been increased enough. The loss of the Tier 1 General Visa means there will still be a shortfall of 7,400 Visas in total.

· From April 2011, it appears that Tier 1 Post Study Visas are being abolished. If you’re from outside the EU and you study an MBA or MSc here, you may be obliged to leave immediately after your course.

Set against this are two positive points:

· There is absolutely no limit on the number of non-EU people who can be brought in on intra-company transfers, as long as the individual concerned is earning more than 40k and has been working overseas for that employer for more than 12 months.

· Anyone can come into the UK as long as they promise to invest 5m, preferably in schools and hospitals.

What this all means

From all of this, we draw the following conclusions.

1) The pool of talent available to banks in London is about to shrink DRAMATICALLY City banks are going to find it a lot harder to hire people from outside the EU. Pay for EU-originating employees could increase as a result. Maybe this is what the UK government intends.

2) Come quick! If you’re thinking of coming into the UK as a Tier One Migrant, do so before April 2011. Demand is high: the quota for Tier One visas for November 2010 is already full, so apply as soon as possible. It’s likely, but not guaranteed, that in April 2011 individuals already in the UK under a Tier One visa will be allowed to stay for a transition period.

3) Apply locally From April 2011, anyone from outside the EU who wants to work in London will be best off applying for a job locally and attempting to transfer within the bank. This could clearly be a nightmare if you want to work in cutting edge exotic products and are based, for example, in Kenya. More promisingly, the fact that only people earning 40k are allowed freedom to transfer could create some salary inflation as pay is hiked to meet this limit.

4) Non EU bankers already in London may struggle to change jobs What happens if you’re a US or Asian banker working for RBS in the City and you want to move to Goldman Sachs? If the limited quota of Tier 2 visas is already used up, this may no longer be possible.

“It’s not clear whether the new arrangements will apply to people who are already in the country and are switching jobs,” says Tony Haque from law firm Baker & McKenzie. “If it does, it could clearly restrict movement.”

5) Several UK financial services MSc courses are facing extinction If students studying the many, many financial MSc courses in the UK aren’t allowed to stay in the UK to look for work after the course finishes, they may think twice about coming here in the first place. MSc course annihilation could follow.

6) Banks will choose to base their international operations in Hong Kong Or somewhere else where they can actually hire people.

Comments (37)

  1. This is ridiculous what possible good can come out of this ???

  2. Point (4) is incorrect. According to the further details provided by the UKBA today there will be no limits on Tier 2 visas for people already in country, so switching companies will not make you subject to the cap, but you will still have a lack of freedom as your new employer will have to seek a visa for you. This may be where the government expects current Tier 1 visa holders to go as well, as there are currently no transitional details released for them.

  3. In every crisis you observe a raise of protectionism and racism. This, by the way, has nothing to see with patriotism. Resurgence of UK for british and buy British are not far … be prepared ….

  4. The City of London operated perfectly well before all these Johnny Foreigners arrrived.
    Those positions where it is vital to hire a non EU person, like African, Middle Eastern, or Near Asia linguists will use their available visas or internal transfers and the rest of the jobs will go to Brits.
    Maybe this will help all the unemployed ex bankers who’ve been discriminated on grounds of age.

  5. Hopefully this will have the affect to improve prospects for European folk seeking or already in City employment. Obviously, this will only be so if all the existing institutions can continue to operate effectively by recruiting only Europeans.

    I couldn’t give a flying fart about the prospects for foreigners.

    I agree from a company view point this is very bad since its an upward pressure on wages. poor them.

  6. .These proposals are very modest but a step in the right direction. Immigration in the UK is out of control and has been for over a decade. We need to start tightening procedures and putting Brits first. This country belongs to us, we will decide who comes here.

    I speak as a 2nd gen immigrant and banker.

  7. .A 2nd generation immigrant writing:

    “We need to start tightening procedures and putting Brits first. This country belongs to us, we will decide who comes here”

    This is one of the most hilarious things I’ve read on this website. Had to comment

  8. as an American in London, this is definitely needed….the UK is way to easy to get into

  9. just send everyone back who migrated in the last 60 years, percapita will shoot up in the first year of reporting atleast… then extend invitation to the right kind of migrants…we have goon too soft in the last 60 years

  10. @Banker

    excellent suggestion mate – send then your mummy and daddy back to pakistan.

  11. Pool of talent …… what a joke. Hopefully this shrinking pool of “talent” means we can avoid another global economic meltdown induced by these “talented” individuals.

  12. I am a non-EU banker and will take up employment in the UK, like it or not. London needs foreign finance professionals because foreigners are qualified and capable in ways the British are not. Another advantage is that foreigners are not lazy like the majority of locals, so we are worth our money.

  13. About time something like this came into effect. There are way too many third world immigrants taking European jobs.

  14. I am a Bangladeshi banker and had no intention to seek employment in the UK until reading some of the comments here. I will come to your country and offer to work for 50% of your wage just to annoy you. You flood the world with your own citizens but complain about foreigners coming to your country. Arrogant a*holes!

  15. )…Scaling back the visas for highly skilled people with a job offer is stupid. It will hurt UK competitiveness. Many of these jobs will not be filled by lower Brits/EU but move elsewhere.

  16. @Banker

    Superb technique in pulling the ladder up behind you.

  17. @ Murray: potentially higher wages for us EU guys.

    However, on a long term basis, it will make an already damaged financial centre less competitive. With its short-sighted over- regulation/taxation, the government is destroying the last major asset of the UK economy.
    It would be prudent to realize that the UK IS a finance based economy.
    All this talk about manufacturing and industry jobs is bogus. How many service economies do you know that have successfully reverted to an industry economy ?
    Does the prime minister think that Britons are willing to work for 300 pounds / month ? Because this is the wage level that they will get used to if they want to compete with industrial economies like China and Southeast Asia.

  18. scare mongering, like the hedgies that will be leaving in droves to Switzerland pffft. Banks won’t close shop, talent won’t flood out and courses won’t be cancelled all over the place. Everyone just mellow out.

  19. I don’t need tighter immigration policies to keep me out of London. The miserable weather and general whinging is enough to do that.

    Happy in Honkers Reply
  20. All the “Brit” miners, oil & gas co’s, pharmas etc have assets in Africa, the MIddle East and Australia/Asia, Switzerland etc….Lets see these countries show reciprocal disdain for Broken Britain and route their business through their own financial centres. London is yesterdays hero – indebted, overrated, bankrupt economically and morally. Asia is the new top dog and the Big Apple will rise again….

    Why dont you fix your ultra-discriminatory tax system, the non-dom stuff and jerseyco rorts, first and stop having nurses and teachers pay for rich foreigners roads.

  21. The EU will be around for about three more minutes, anyway….KAPUT!!

  22. …This is a sad policy. If we increase trade barriers it will not help anyone… Laissez faire(anyone heard this term), when western countries want access to markets of other countries , how can they stop the flow of labour… I would agree if there were some changes made, completing scrapping a policy, think if China or India stopped all companies from Britain and changed policies how would that feel… WTO and Global trade is a two way street I guess…

  23. “as an American in London, this is definitely needed….the UK is way to easy to get into”

    That is correct, and you are the proof.

    Why is it always mostly foreigners or 2nd generation immigrants who support such measures?
    It is similar with politicians (e.g. Michael Howard with his refugee parents).

  24. This is good news. Maybe banks will start investing in training European staff in these key skills rather than hiring/poaching someone from outside the EU. Europe should look after European workers interests as this is what other continents do.

  25. Let me remind all that this is a country of MILLIONS of Asylum Seekers, East Europeans who don’t speak English, Illegals stow aways, overstayers, Bogus Students, etc etc YES MILLIONS OF THEM…and all they crack down is on 13000 Tier 1 migrants a year….Appaling and Dissappointing…

  26. @ B. Rohn – You are an idiot of the worst type. I am an Eastern European. I left your country in disgust exactly because of this superiority complex you have over there. At the company I used to work for all native speakers of English failed the FSA exams (citing the “difficult language” of the textbooks) and all EEs passed them on first attempt. How this is possible? We do not think we are superior to others but we have brains, unlike most of you there. Get off the high horse idiot. I earn more in my emerging country than I made in the UK. It’s just a matter of time and the British will be begging for jobs in emerging countries so they can support their left-behind families in their impoverished country.

  27. @ Lech – Britain is sinking into irrelevance rapidly, nobody on earth will do any business with these arrogant folks once expertise becomes available in other financial centres. Five to ten years and the City will be a sleepy financial village. Let Rohn bark, who cares???

  28. That’s totally a policy hard to be understood. Does it really help UK economy in the long run beside pleasing the local/EU citizens?

  29. No international students be should be coming here right from next year specially for Masters degree courses. World will see how UK will loose billions of pounds they earn each year from international students and spend it on their health care and benefits. UK students – get prepared to pay more than 9000 pounds / year which I bet you they will never.
    Intentional students need to go to Australia or Canada and believe me the quality of education is much better than UK.

  30. This is absolute “Boll*x”. First you get the incentives and then once you are about to graduate they plan to axe the tier1 route. Majority of students have paid around 30,000 for a three year undergrad course. I wonder where the “Home students” would stand when they will be paying similar amounts(soon). And how exactly would Universities generate the amount they are able to do thesedays. I see many universities scaling down, departments closing, lesser courses, little research capability and a steep decline in popularity, for overseas students. They(government) sure will regret it, just the way the overseas students regret now.

  31. This is excellent news. This means i will have no more difficulty in convincing my managers to transfer the whole team to other locations like dubai, or singapore or hongkong. Hopefully this protectionist policy will spell the final doom of the over-rated, overpriced and worthless city. For whoever said nobody will leave, I will be the living proof on the contrary (along with droves of people who I see on a monthly basis move back to either asia, or brazil or NY). Thankfully I have only one brit in my team, who stays in Chelsea with his rich parents and too accustomed to having home-made food and things being done for him. Except him, hopefully everyone will be fine with moving out of this sheet hole (sic).

    And when we all leave, Brits and the French will run the banks and do all the deals with their history MA and media BA qualifications !!! It will be just a spectacle to watch. Cant wait.

    Oh wait, when Euro breaks up (and IMHO thats not faraway), who will get here to work to being with? Possibly only french and italians. Good luck making them work!

  32. This essentially means that uk does not want non-EU people but cheap labour. They are looking for soft targets!!!!

  33. sorry guys, but hasnt been said that Tier 2 visas will be only available for graduate level jobs? if so, than switching jobs wont be possible for existing Tier 2 since new employer wont be able to hire if candidate not at graduate level. i am somehow thinking that all those on tier 1 will be allowed to stay after april but will not be able to extend when their current visa expires nor to switch into Tier 2, because Tier 2 general will be limited only for graduate level jobs.

    Here an extract from the announcement:

    “Tier 2 (General) applications will be restricted to graduate-level vacancies. The Migration Advisory Committee will advise us on what are to be considered graduate-level jobs, and we will amend the shortage occupation list accordingly. Existing Tier 2 (General) migrants in jobs below graduate level will be able to extend their permission to stay if they meet current requirements.”

  34. Work permits in the City were only granted to people who were smarter than a EU citizen. I am not saying the EU citizens are dump in any way, but, let us take it, there are smarter people outside the continent. An immigration cap per company will definitely shrink the talent pool. This in turn will affect the competitiveness. Coupled with the 30k UK degree, I can see the City losing business to NY, Hong Kong and Singapore in the next 10 years. With an arrogant and populist government, without any vision, this country is going down!

  35. I have just been granted a Tier 1 visa for 2 years, would it be best for me to go now or would employers be hesitant to hire me for not being an EU citizen?

    Banker from Aus Reply
  36. still pretty soft compared to US policy

  37. By abolishing these rules UK is removing itself from rest of the world and is gradually trying to be a global village. Most MSc graduate can implement their knowlwdge to improve the countries technology and economy. If uk try to do this all then soon after few years UK will become a country with poorest people and nothing else.

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