Sadiq Khan, mayor of London (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

London Mayor’s Solution To U.K.’s Brexit Challenges Has An India Angle

As Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s job is no bed of roses. And it gets even tougher when he travels to India with a “London is Open” message. This despite Brexit, the U.K. government’s stringent visa norms and a hike in the threshold limit of annual pay for working professionals.

“What I’m saying to my government is that Brexit necessitates a change of policy around immigration,” Khan told BloombergQuint in an interview. “We’ve got to recognise that leaving the EU poses huge challenges and the best way to mitigate that is to attract talent from India.”

I’m very critical of the British government’s policy to remove the post-study work visa that’s led to talented Indians choosing to go to study in Canada, USA, Australia and all the evidence is that if you are talented enough to study overseas, you will go on to become a chief executive, an investor, an innovator, but also you will go on to fall in love with the city that you study in and we are losing this soft power, this alumni.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London in Mumbai (Photographer: Aayush Ailawadi/BloombergQuint)
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London in Mumbai (Photographer: Aayush Ailawadi/BloombergQuint)

Last month, India flagged off concerns over the U.K. government’s stance on immigration in light of the recent changes to its visa policy. Nearly 40 percent of Londoners come from outside the U.K. and Khan believes London’s ability to attract top talent from other countries is what makes it the “greatest city in the world”.

Khan, is currently on his first official visit to India as Mayor of London. After Mumbai, he’s headed to Delhi, Amritsar and then to Pakistan.

The lawyer-turned-politician genuinely believes he can do a lot more as Mayor of London than as a national politician. “If the 19th century was famous for empires, 20th century for nation states, then the 21st century is all about cities and mayors, because we can move much quicker,” he explained.