Google is set to open a new headquarters office in London which could create 3,000 jobs by 2020. Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google, stated, “We see big opportunities here. This is a big commitment from us – we have some of the best talent in the world in the UK and to be able to build great products from here sets us up well for the long term.” However, he stressed that open borders and free movement for skilled migrants are incredibly important to the success of the technology sector in the UK.
Therefore, Google’s investment could be at risk due to the barriers to skilled immigration that might emerge from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Still, Mr Pichai emphasised that the strength of the UK economy extends far beyond the Brexit vote. “The innovation we see here, the talent we have available here and how on the cutting edge of technology we are able to be here makes it an incredible place for us to invest,” he said. Mr Pichai recognised that Brexit may create complex “secondary effects” over the longer term, however, he believes that it is too early to say what they may be.
The technology company have yet to confirm the cost of the UK investment. Nonetheless, development experts predict that the new building in King’s Cross, coupled with the cost of employing thousands of new workers, are likely to represent an investment of over £1 billion. Google currently employs approximately 4,000 people in the UK and this figure could now rise to 7,000. Consequently, the office space owned by Google in King’s Cross will almost double.