“In my opinion, immigrant entrepreneurs disproportionately contribute to the enterprise economy and create jobs,” said Johnson, celebrating the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
“Although these entrepreneur immigrants are relatively small who come here and settle, they actually punch above their weight in terms of economic importance.”
Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Johnson warned that it was vital that government policies did not deter foreign entrepreneurs and investors from doing business in the UK.
“It’s quite hard for people to come and settle here who come over from a number of countries, even if they’re ex-students,” he said. “I’m seeing a lot of very able people coming particularly from countries like Spain and Italy and thinking about running a company here.”
According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, EU immigration contributes ?60bn to the UK economy.
The debate around Europe and immigration, Johnson added, was simply motivated by sentiment, rather than sense.
“We’d like to discuss how we manage immigration while at the same time embracing those high value added immigrants who will make a real contribution particularly in terms of entrepreneurship, job creation and generating taxes,” he said.