LONDON (Reuters) - Brexit secretary David Davis sought to reassure the financial services sector on Tuesday with a commitment to make bankers exempt from curbs on immigration after Brexit.
Responding to industry concerns that it will be harder to recruit European staff after Britain leaves the European Union, Davis said the government’s new immigration policy will aim to allow highly skilled workers to move around the continent.
For example, Davis told a conference of bankers in London, a bank should be able to temporarily move an employee to an office in Germany or a lawyer visit a client in Paris.
He said the government will introduce a new immigration bill next year setting out those plans in more detail.
Banks have expressed concern that a crackdown on immigration may hamper their ability to find staff with the right skills.
“Ensuring that the financial services sector can attract the talent it needs to thrive is also vital as we leave the EU,” Davis said. “We want to ensure that our new partnership with the EU protects the mobility of workers and professionals.”
The City of London, home to global foreign exchange, bonds and fund management operations and to more banks than any other financial centre, faces upheaval as firms decide whether to shift jobs to continental Europe to keep serving customers there after Britain leaves the EU in 2019.
“Its clear that Government understands the sector’s concerns surrounding Brexit, and we welcome that,” City of London policy chair Catherine McGuinness said in a statement, adding “But we now need to see these words turned into action”.
Davis said the government wants a trade pact with the EU in financial services that will ensure financial stability, consumer protection and honour the global regulatory rules adopted in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.
Davis said he was “confident that in conversations about the future partnership we want with the EU, we will be able to achieve these objectives, together, and provide clarity and certainty to businesses working across Europe.”
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Huw Jones; editing by Alexander Smith