The digital and creative intelligentsia of Europe has flocked to the UK in recent years. We have attracted folks because the UK seemed like an enlightened, forward thinking, inclusive place to come and work and think and create. Their skills, inventiveness and breadth of outlook have enriched our universities, our startups and our national institutions. As we wake up to this decision this morning, we must make sure, loud and clear, that these brilliant people are still and will always be welcome. This is true for all the visiting workers we have hosted here, but for our creative and digital community it’s vitally important. I don’t know of a startup that hasn’t benefitted from a pan-European work force – not just for their skills but for the global outlook that being cosmopolitan creates. When I think of the difficulties we have encountered when we have had to try to secure visas for US citizens wanting to join us and contribute to our economy, it is clear that we must urgently insist on avoiding any changes to residency rules for folk like this. We may have decided as a nation to leave the EU and the economic consequences of this will be uncertain for weeks to come and are already clearly negative. That said however, we cannot allow our community to retreat into some inward island mentality. The country may have chosen to leave the EU, but that should not prevent us from standing as culturally European and citizens of the world.
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