News Archive - September 2011

UK visa rules prove concerning to expats

21 Sep 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Expatriates in Britain are growing increasingly concerned about the changes being pushed through regarding the UK visa rules and regulations.

People from New Zealand who are working in Britain are among those to have enjoyed having access to residency after spending five years in the country on a UK visa. However, as the government closes the consultation on tightening visa rules for workers from outside the European Economic Area, this looks set to change.

The automatic settlement route is under threat and New Zealanders, along with other expats in the country, are worried that their future in the UK is no longer assured.

Stephen Dee, UK regional manager of New Zealand expat network KEA, told website Stuff that highly skilled overseas workers are at a loss as to who will benefit from the changes.

"It's really hard to see how this change of regulations is going to really benefit the UK economy," he remarked. "I'm sure it will end up being a net loss for the UK economy if they deny New Zealanders the opportunity to come here as freely as they have been."

Mr Dee's views were backed up by recent comments from British Law Society president John Wotton. Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Wotton noted that there is a much lower chance of British businesses attracting the top talent because people simply won't want to relocate across the world if they feel they can then only spend a few years in the UK.

"If this was the only aspect of immigration policy that has been raised that might be manageable, but it's just one in a series of measures that's making the UK less open to business," he added.