Commonwealth countries want same immigration rights as EU

Australia and other Commonwealth countries are to demand equal immigration rights to EU citizens after Brexit.

Last week, it was reported that the UK is likely to allow visa free travel for EU citizens once the UK leaves the Union, although citizens of those countries will still need visas and permits to study and work in Britain.

While details of what an EU citizen would need to do in order to obtain a visa have not yet been revealed, one suggestion is that it would be up to an employer to apply for a work permit. Other reports have stated that the criteria an EU citizen would need to meet in order to qualify for a permit would be minimal.

Whatever system is implemented, Commonwealth countries have stated their desire to have the same rules introduced for citizens of their countries as well. Speaking to The Times last week, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that her government would be disappointed if the UK ended up with more restrictive immigration conditions for Australian citizens than it does for those from the European Union. Government sources from Canada and New Zealand have hinted that they share the same concerns.

Currently, Commonwealth citizens coming to Britain for work have to obtain a tier-two visa which allows them to stay in the country for up to five years.

They are only eligible for one if they have already been offered a skilled job and can prove that they are sponsored by their employer, while they must also have a minimum of £945 in savings and usually have to earn over £25,000 a year.

Article published 21st August 2017