Is ‘regionalisation’ a good idea for the UK Visa system? | Hudson McKenzie

Is ‘regionalisation’ a good idea for the UK Visa system?

November 14, 2017 | Immigration, Latest Thinking

Recently, the Mayor of London – Sadiq Khan, published a document centered upon the topic of the future of immigration. Noticeably, one of the topics discussed by the Mayor which gives rise to further deliberation, is surrounding the question whether ‘regionalisation’ of the UK Visa system is a verifiable solution for London or not.

According to the Mayor, the ‘regionalisation’ of the UK visa system will allow areas of the UK to shape its approach to migration around the UK’s economic and social needs, allowing the UK to remain open to talent and skills – which is an important factor to consider for post-Brexit Britain.

Furthermore, the Mayor also comments that ‘regionalisation’ has an “intuitive appeal” due to the “economic, demographic and political diversity” of the UK. From this, some forms of regionalisation can already be demonstrated as  a part of the UK visa system – for instance Scotland has its own ‘shortage occupation list’, allowing for fast track applications to be processed through the Tier 1 ‘exceptional talent’ route, speeding up the visa process.

Therefore, for a regional visa application system to be functional, the Mayor identifies two key criteria’s that need to be satisfied:

  1. That a regional body takes responsibility for the granting and recommendation of visas
  2. That there are forms of compliance to ensure that the recipient in question is working in that region – which may suggest that a greater control is needed for regional economic growth.

In conclusion, the Mayor argues that the national approach to the visa system is good for UK economic growth, as it will allow businesses to operate nationally, without adding to the complexity of compliance requirements.

Thus, the Mayor argues that the UK government’s first priority should be a creation of a UK visa system that responds to demand and meets the skills required by all businesses, so to avoid any foreseeable capping on economic migration.

If not, the Mayor argues that a regional approach to the UK visa system may become necessary if the UK government is unable to develop a responsible and flexible system for the UK as a whole.

If you would like to read more about the recent publication by the Mayor of London, please click the following link:

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss any immigration or visa related enquiries, you can speak to one of our specialised solicitors on 020 3318 5794 or by email on