How A New Visa Deal Can Give More Australians The Opportunity To Work In Great Britain
Due to the huge influx of EU citizens working in the UK, migration restrictions were introduced. These limit the number of foreign skilled workers to take up residency in the country to no more than 20,000.
In 2014, more than 260,000 people arrived in the UK, but only a few of them left. All of them will need houses, jobs, doctors’ surgeries and school places that the UK may no longer be able to provide. This prompted British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to announce that lower EU migration would become a priority.
Following these restrictions, the number of Australians heading to work in the UK dropped by about 50%. But a new visa deal was proposed by the federal government to make an exception for Australians.
The deal aims to reverse a discriminatory British government immigration policy, working out a compromise to counter European Union laws that put a cap on the number of migrants that enter the UK. According to a government source, “A compromise is being looked at from both the Australian and British ends”.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott believes that the new system is a discrimination against Australians, which is why he is lobbying British Prime Minister to place Aussies in a different migration category. They should be given special consideration based on its status and relationship with the UK, something that has the full backing of London mayor Boris Johnson. He argued that restrictions on Britain’s work visa rules for non-EU skilled workers have an adverse impact on the economy of London. Vince Cable, British Minister for Business, shares the same sentiments describing the sudden drop of highly skilled workers from outside the EU as “deeply worrying”.
According to a report by Tim Hewish, the mayor urges the government to grant Aussies “special status to migrate to Britain and vice versa, as part of a “bilateral mobility zone””. This refers to an arrangement based on Australia’s Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement with New Zealand where free movement is allowed between both countries. Aussies would have the right for a free visa to live and work in the UK, and British citizens can enjoy the same arrangement in Australia.
“The UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand share the same head of state, the same language and the same common-law legal system. Critically, they are all highly economically developed democracies and there is also a distinct common culture and familial bond between them. Taken together this has led some to ask why policies of free movement don’t already exist,” Mr Hewish said.
He also added, “It may be seen as hypocrisy for any Australian government to, on the one hand, allow freedom of work and movement of Britons yet, on the other, refuse entry to nationals from Asian countries”.
The British government, however, is worried that they might be forced to make exceptions for other countries if they acquiesce to Australia’s request. Nonetheless, a draft is being made.
Alexander Downer, Australian High Commissioner to the UK, have already discussed with British MPs from the Foreign Office regarding the downturn on migration and the difficulty for Aussies to enter the UK despite “Australia’s chip-in passport security being one of the best in the world”.
The good news is the new visa deal is being ironed out, and more Australians will soon be on their way to the UK.