Australia has warned Britain against introducing a tougher UK visa scheme after Brexit, suggesting it could have an impact on any trade deal discussions between the two countries.
Australia’s approach to the issue highlights concerns among some that Prime Minister Theresa May is pushing to create a “global Britain” with free trade deals across the world while also using UK visa schemes to reduce the number of people who can come to Britain.
Currently, May is focusing efforts on trade deals with Australia and India, but both countries have demanded a more liberal approach the UK visas and UK work permits in exchange.
The UK immigration system as a whole is set to go under the microscope this autumn when Britain announces details of its post-Brexit plan.
According to British business groups, many businesses are keen for EU workers to be given preferential access to UK visas and UK work permits, rather than having to go through the same system used for those located outside the bloc.
However, such a decision is likely to have a negative affect on relations between London and Canberra, and London and New Delhi.
According to a report by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra wants a less restrictive UK visa scheme to be put in place for Australians wanting to work in Britain ahead of trade deals, highlighting comments from UK home secretary Amber Rudd who stated Australia should not expect any “special treatment”.
“Given the strong people-to-people links between Australia and the UK and the significant contribution made by Australian workers to UK’s economic growth, we would be disappointed and concerned by more restrictive conditions for Australian workers and visa holders,” says the report by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.