During the visit to the US in January 2017 to meet newly installed President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, planned to discuss how to boost US-UK migration – according to sources within the British government. May was in the US partly to discuss an early trade deal once Britain has left the European Union.
Further details of May’s meeting with Trump came just days after Australia’s high commissioner to the UK,
Alexander Downer confirmed that talks between the UK and Australia had commenced over a potential free trade deal. However, Downer said ‘for any deal to be struck, Britain would have to relax its Tier 2 visa rules.’
The US visa system is probably the most complex in the World. It is very difficult to come under visa categories such as the L1A and L1B intra-company transfer visas and say the H1B specialty occupation visa for graduates. In some cases you can come under the E2, E1 and E3 treaty visa schemes to gain entry to the US. Trump seems to be wanted to make these visa schemes even more restrictive.
However, May’s approach to trade deals with the US and Australia – which seem to hinge on the expansion of highly skilled migration – appear to be in stark contrast to her approach to a trade deal with India.
Both the US and UK have restrictive visa policies. It is hard to imagine that it will become much easier under Donald Trump or Theresa May. Donald Trump is under pressure to keep his campaign promises of reducing the number of people entering the US on work visas such as the H1B visa and L1 visa schemes. The UK Tier 2 visa scheme and Tier 2 sponsorship licence scheme is also a restrictive visa scheme. In the US it is very difficult for both Houses of Congress to reach agreement on changes to US visa regulations. Because of this the US visa system has not changed that much in many years. In the UK the Government is trying to reduce the number of people entering on UK visas. For the time being it seems that it will actually be more difficult for Americans to work in the UK and also more difficult for British people to work in the US