New Zealanders welcome on UK visas

21 Jan 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The UK foreign secretary has said that he would like to see New Zealanders continue to come to Britain.

A number of UK visa routes are open to New Zealanders, British foreign secretary William Hague has asserted.

He highlighted the Tier 2 work permit route for skilled workers who have a job offer and the UK ancestry visa.

Speaking in Auckland on Friday (January 21st), Mr Hague explained that he is keen to see a large number of people from New Zealand continue to emigrate to the UK, the Press Association reported.

The comments follow the announcement of changes to UK visa regulations, which will see the number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 work permits limited to 21,700.

While the changes don't come into effect until April this year, some interim measures are in place and businesses have bought up concerns about the possibility of the limitations having a negative effect on the country.

However, Mr Hague remarked today: "We have to be firm but fair on immigration, but I don't think the new rules will unduly affect the number of people coming in from New Zealand into the UK and I'd be worried if they did so." The foreign secretary is in New Zealand for bilateral talks primarily with the New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully and the defence minister Wayne Mapp, along with the UK's defence secretary Liam Fox.

Mr Hague explained that the move is part of efforts by the UK to strengthen its relationship with New Zealand, which has "always been very strong".