British MPs Back Special Visa Scheme for Citizens of Australia and New Zealand

by Ray Clancy on February 6, 2015

British MPs have reopened the debate over UK visa rules, arguing they are unfairly favouring Europeans at the expense of those from Commonwealth countries like Australia and New Zealand.

This follows the release of a report claiming visa restrictions had resulted in a steep decline in Australian migration to the UK in recent years.

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell wants reforms to the visa system which would place more restrictions on European immigration and not ‘alienate or exclude’ people from countries with longer and closer historical links with Britain.

UK London‘Being a subject from one of Her Majesty’s realms or being from a Commonwealth nation should count for something when looking to visit, work, study or live in the United Kingdom. At the moment it appears to count for little,’ he said.

He backs recent calls from London Mayor Boris Johnson for bilateral mobility zones between economically developed Commonwealth nations and said that such a move also has from the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia.

He also wants to see special Commonwealth queue at airports such as Heathrow which would allow people with passports from former Commonwealth countries to be fast tracked through immigration.

A report compiled by Tim Hewish, executive director of the think tank Commonwealth Exchange, claimed that Australian migration to Britain dropped from 40,000 in 1999 to 26,000 in 2011 because of visa restrictions.

It recommends allowing people with Australian and New Zealand nationality to travel and work in Britain and Britons to travel and work reciprocally in those two countries. A similar argument was made for Canada.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he would welcome the move but he said it is unlikely to happen this year due to the forthcoming UK general election.

Those in favour also pointed out that all three countries share a common language and legal system and have a common culture and familial bonds.



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