London Is Special, but Not That Special – NYTimes.com

The capital of the UK is known for a diverse population.  Indeed, its approach to “multiculturalism” differs greatly from its neighbors on the Continent.  What can we learn about London’s approach to immigration?

The distinctness of London has led many to clamor for the capital to pursue its own policies, especially on immigration. The British prime minister, David Cameron, is a Conservative. So is the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. But they have diametrically opposed views on immigration.

Driven by a perceived political need to adopt a hard-line stance, Mr. Cameron’s coalition government has imposed myriad new restrictions, the aim of which is to reduce net migration to Britain to below 100,000. Driven by the real economic needs of London, on the other hand, Mr. Johnson has campaigned for looser rules. Earlier this month he called for the creation of a special “London visa” to allow talented tech experts and fashion designers from around the world to get jobs in the capital. It would be, he suggested, “a clear message to the elite of Silicon Valley or the fashionistas of Beijing that London is the place they should come to develop ideas, build new businesses and be part of an epicenter for global talent.”

via London Is Special, but Not That Special – NYTimes.com.

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9 thoughts on “London Is Special, but Not That Special – NYTimes.com

  1. I think every city or every country would love to think that its immigration policy is truly set to attract and receive the best and brightest, yet Johnson’s outlook may be a bit far-fetched. After all, issuing city-specific working visas treats London as its own sovereign nation, and conflicts between upper and lower levels of governments in federalized states haven’t ended well historically. Furthermore, let us not forget that even though the policies may have attracted the cream of the entrepreneurial crop, they have also brought the straggling leftovers from the same proverbial field. This “special” city is home to “some of the richest people in the world, but it is home also to some of the poorest people,” and the economic disparity won’t dissipate by packing the city with hopeful, young startups whose competition with each other will leave a few more on top and dozens more on bottom.

  2. madythorn says:

    As mentioned by Nicholas above, London may attracted some of the richest people in the world, that are very talented and will bring great ideas and businesses, it is also home to the three lowest-income sectors of Britain. One cannot make the argument that having loose immigrations laws in the capital city would be strictly beneficial, and I agree with the above comment. To me it would seem like a bad idea to give London a different set of laws than the rest of Britain. Immigration is a major issue among most big countries of the world, and having a divided view on it would only hurt London and Great Britain in the long run. Britain needs London for the strength that it offers the country as a whole. I think it would be a dangerous move to treat London as its own sovereign nation, even if in just a few ways.

  3. mncarlson95 says:

    I feel that we can conclude that London has started to become independent from the rest of the UK. London feels that since it is a hub for many economic and political activities it feels the need to apply the immigration policy to itself. This immigration policy focuses on bringing in wealthy immigrants with skills that would benefit London. London’s class system currently has a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor. London houses some of the worlds richest people to some of the worlds poorest. I had the chance to visit London last summer and a former London resident told me that a huge toll was put in place to discourage poor people not to enter the city. This includes poor immigrants who want to make their start in London but cant because of the high tolls and taxes. I agree with the writer of the article when he says that this immigration policy should include the entire UK. I admire London’s willingness to be diverse but they must remember that they are apart of Great Britain.

  4. mckaycorbett says:

    This was a really interesting article I liked it. I think it was interesting to see how one city can be completely different from the rest of the country in some aspects. The question was what can we learn from the way London deals with immigration. One I like the way the London Mayor wants to attract talent to London. I think that is something the US should incorporate into our immigration system. For example people who have studied and have even become masters in a certain subject in other countries come to the US and their education is not accepted by our system. Which means they have to study everything all over again or just take up another profession. How does this inspire the inspired to come here? Yes there should be some form of schooling to help those professionals learn the “american way” of doing things but to have to start their education all over again is ridiculous.

  5. dbaker24 says:

    London is a major economic hub for the world. I have been to London and the amount of diversity is amazing. However it would appear that London is desiring less of this specif factor in their economic pursuits. To me it appears in recent years that they are moving towards more of a concentration of the wealthy in comparison to allowing poorer immigrants to reside within the city. This is a rather selfish move made by London in my opinion. Additionally, as previously stated, this is a pretty independent move made by London, whom should remember that they are a member of a much larger country.

  6. alexkhirst says:

    Having lived in London, I saw the massive amount of immigrants all over city. At times, the British can be pretty hostile to immigrants, but for the most part, most were working hard in various jobs throughout the city. I can see why immigration would want to be curtailed, though, especially as there is tension within Muslim immigrant communities. Therefore, I think Britain should be cautious in allowing too open immigration laws. However, immigration should not be completely halted, as some of the greatest minds come to London for work and education.

  7. alexechu1 says:

    The contrast between the UK’s rural and urban areas is probably about as drastic as it is anywhere else in the world, and a large contributing factor to this is UK immigration policy over the last half century or so. I don’t see how the proposal being argued against affects any of the “immigration-related” issues discussed in the article. The allowance of 100 “exceptionally talented” individuals to London, who will probably interact very little with the lower classes, will have little to no effect on “hospital waiting lists” or “low wages”, but will rather serve to bring to pass Mayor Johnson’s vision for London as a hub of culture and technology. Also, to be fair, while the issues discussed can certainly be solved by policy making and implementation, the mass entrance of immigrants over the last 50-60 years, and the support provided to them, has had a real effect as well on things such as healthcare, housing, employment, wages, and education.

  8. It’s very true that not many capitals are representative of their countries and therefore feel like they should have different rules, but it’s more important that they be a hub for their country and pull them forward rather than leave them behind. Maybe laws and trends should start with London and then expand. It does not make a lot of sense to allow immigrants into only London on a visa, but if the numbers show that most of them are going there, then why doubt that any who go there will mostly stay without being told to do so. However, if they do not want immigrants much more than the rest of the country then why burden them more than the rest of the population.

  9. madeleineary says:

    I studied the relationship between the police and Muslims in Cambridge England and observed that the Muslim society there is really tight knit. The way I have heard it described is that England is like a little earth, while France wants to be a true melting pot where everyone must become a frenchman. England has seen some backlash from this however, as they recognize that their extremist community is powerful and violent. Changing their policy, at least at first, will likely only inflame the problem. But that may be worth it in the end.

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