LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has stated that he will stand with the British Asian community in lobbying the government for more flexible immigration policies. He emphasised that immigrants are not invaders; instead, they are innovators and wealth creators.
Speaking at the 25th anniversary of the Asian Business Awards in London on Wednesday (22), Khan alleged that politicians and others too often shied away from making the positive case for immigration in recent years.
Khan quipped that had the current Tory government been in power 30 years ago, “these awards would be taking place in Rwanda.”
While hitting back at the former home secretary, Suella Braverman, for calling immigrants ‘invaders,’ he said that instead of denigrating our diversity, they must celebrate it.
“Immigrants, and their sons and daughters, are not invaders. They are innovators, entrepreneurs, and wealth creators. They’re people who enrich our society and culture. They empower our country and make our city what it is, the greatest city in the world,” the mayor said.
“Indeed, the examples of British Asian business leaders demonstrate why we urgently need to see a departure from the divisive rhetoric that for too long has polluted our politics and national conversation.”
Khan also mentioned his own immigrant story, highlighting that immigration makes the country richer, not poorer.
“My story, like so many in the room, is an immigrant story. My parents came to London from Pakistan. My family owes everything to this incredible city and to our country. I’m proud of my Pakistani heritage, my Islamic faith, and my South Asian roots. Also, I am proud of being a Londoner, and a Brit. That’s why I’ve always been passionate about giving back to the places that have given me and my family so much. And let’s be honest. That’s exactly what immigrant communities do,” he said.
“Once we’ve put down roots, we don’t take out, we pull back in, we don’t subtract from the wealth of a nation, we add to it. Without a shadow of doubt, immigration makes us richer, not poorer. And we see that in abundance in the room this evening.”
Khan recognised the immense contribution that Asian entrepreneurs have made to the UK, many who came as immigrants, saying: “The success of Asian businesses is now deeply ingrained in our national identity.”
He added, “The efforts and achievements of everyone in this room are rightly a source of pride for our communities. The fact is events like this show that our diversity is a strength, not a weakness. Not only do you create jobs and generate billions of pounds for our economy, but you also make the high streets and neighborhoods better and brighter places to live and work. As mayor, I’ll continue standing up for you. I know the energy, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial spirit of our Asian community is vital to building a better London and a better country for everyone.
“So, whether it’s promoting mutual respect and understanding, lobbying the government for a more flexible immigration policy, or calling them to provide more help with rising business costs. I’ll always be on your side.”
While mentioning the importance of embracing diversity, the mayor also mentioned the London for Everyone campaign launched by City Hall this week.
“Whether you’re originally from Ealing or India, Peckham or Pakistan, Bromley or Bangladesh, Streatham or Sri Lanka, Uxbridge or Uganda, we want you to know that as long as I am there, this city is your home. You’ll always be welcomed, valued, and celebrated here.”
He said that the Asian Business Awards, for the past 25 years, have been a shining light on the best not just of British Asian talent, but the best of any talent anywhere in the business world.
The Asian Business Awards are hosted by the Asian Media Group, which publishes Eastern Eye and Garavi Gujarat news weeklies as well as the Asian Rich List and the GG2 Power List.