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Boris Johnson wants 'London visa' to attract 'exceptional' business talent

London Mayor Boris Johnson is in talks with the Home Office to set up London visas to attract the "best and brightest" in the technology and fashion industries to the capital.

The mayor's office has submitted plans for a yearly application of 100 "exceptional talent" visas to help boost start-ups.

Johnson said the move would help companies attract talent from overseas who struggle with the bureaucracy and cost of the visa system.

The visa would grant talented individuals an official endorsement, allowing them to bypass the lengthy and costly visa system that affects many applicants.

"It is a clear message to the elite of Silicon Valley or the fashionistas of Beijing that London is the place they should come to develop ideas, build new businesses and be part of an epicentre for global talent," Johnson told the Financial Times.

Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor for business and enterprise, said 100 visas was a low starting point but there was room for growth in future years if the system proved successful.

"In fields such as technology and fashion, individual talent is vital to the sector's success," he said. "We only need to find one Steve Jobs and we have an Apple on our hands."

The Home Office currently issues 1,000 visas a year for world-class artists, scientists and performers.