For a while now, the UK government has been discussing the idea of implementing a new Australian-style strategy for the UK work permit. The points-based system would replace the standard tier 2 work permit on the market today. When this new concept was announced, there was also some discussion around the idea that Australians may be allowed into the UK without having to apply for a UK work permit.
However, that no longer seems to be the case. Boris Johnson’s resounding victory in the December election was recently followed by an announcement that his government would be pursuing bilateral free trade agreements with Australia, intended to reduce import tariffs. However, it’s unlikely that this deal will give Australians the right to move to the UK freely like they do when travelling to New Zealand.
New trade deals suggest that Australians will not be given the right to live and work in the UK long-term without the appropriate UK work permit. Simon Birmingham, the Australian Trade Minister has confirmed that Australia will not be pushing for any special rights when it comes to UK visas and being allowed into the country. Instead, negotiations for a free trade agreement between the UK and Australia will be concentrating on enhancing trade within a crucial market.
Under the current arrangements in place for Australian visitors into the UK, Australians can come to the UK for six months as a tourist without requiring a visa. However, a UK work permit will still be required to do unpaid or paid work. It remains to be seen whether the lack of an easy visa system for Australian residents will have a negative impact on the UK economy. Many employers and think tanks are concerned about what changes to the UK work permit will mean to the talent market going forward.