Reciprocal visa agreement backed in Oz, NZ, Canada and UK

A new poll reveals that the majority of residents of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK would welcome a reciprocal agreement that would allow citizens of these four countries the right to live and work in one of the others, without a visa.

The survey, carried out by The Royal Commonwealth Society, found that support for freedom of movement between the four countries was strongest among New Zealand residents, with 82 per cent stating they would support such a measure.

Seventy-five per cent of Canadians also supported the proposal, as did 70 per cent of Australians. UK citizens were the least open to an agreement, with just 58 per cent backing the idea.

Support was particularly high in the younger age groups – particularly among Australians and New Zealanders. For those aged between 18 and 35, 90 per cent of New Zealanders and 80 per cent of Australians were in favour of visa free mobility.

“I think it could work,” said Lord Howell of Guilford, president of the Royal Commonwealth Society. “We need to welcome our friends with open arms when they visit us, and, in doing so, work to ensure as much free mobility as possible.”

Residents of many non-EU countries have been angered by recent changes made to the UK visa system. Skilled workers from outside the EU who have been in the UK for less than 10 years now need to earn at least £35,000 a year in order to qualify for a Tier 2 visa and settle in the country permanently.

In 2013, Mayor of London Boris Johnson called for a free labour mobility zone between the UK and Australia that would afford residents of the countries the right to live and work in either country visa free.

Article by David Fuller