Immigration measures announced in the Queen’s speech have alarmed the City amid fears that increasing regulatory burdens could make it harder to hire overseas talent.

The government says an immigration bill, which has yet to be put before parliament, would implement a visa levy on businesses to fund apprenticeships.

Vincent Keaveny, president of the City of London Law Society and partner at international firm Baker & McKenzie, warned against any scheme aimed at making it harder to hire overseas.

‘City firms look to recruit overseas to fill skills shortages in specialist areas of practice. There would be real concern in the City about measures that restricted this or that reduced the mobility of lawyers.’

Immigration lawyer Nicolas Rollason, a partner at London firm Kingsley Napley, said the planned levy could be financial, which he said would amount to ‘employer bashing’ as companies already have to pay visa fees, an NHS levy and compliance fees when hiring from outside the EU.

A non-financial levy, such as a requirement for employers to show they are providing apprenticeships to local people, could also meet with ‘quite a lot of resistance’ from City firms, he said. ‘City firms may argue they are already creating apprenticeships for British law graduates,’ he said.

Laura Devine (pictured), principal of immigration firm Laura Devine Solicitors, said the lack of clarity over how the government plans to monitor online recruitment has also raised concerns in the business community.