UK Visa rules must be relaxed. Australia has told the UK to relax Tier 2 visa restrictions and Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence rules if it wants to strike a free trade deal post-Brexit. Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, said that Canberra – Australia’s capital city – would seek better access for business people operating in the UK before agreeing any post-Brexit deal.
Instead it seems the opposite is happening in the UK. It is becoming more difficult and expensive to obtain a Tier 2 visa. From 6 April 2017 there will a new £1,000 a year immigration skills charge for most new Tier 2 visa skilled workers.
Downer recommended that negotiations over Tier 2 visa arrangement should take place at the same time as agreeing a deal concerning the free movement of goods. In reference to how quickly Canberra struck a deal with Washington during George W Bush’ presidency, Downer said that an Australia-UK deal could be concluded swiftly following Brexit.
Mr Downer confirmed that the UK and Australia had been in discussions over what a free trade agreement could look like. He said: “Obviously, once the UK leaves the EU, it can negotiate free trade agreements but not before then.”
“However, we can pre-plan negotiations and we’ve presented a scoping paper to the British government to explain what we think the scope of a free trade agreement should look like.”
Current UK immigration rules dictate that Australians coming to the UK for the purposes of employment are required to obtain a Tier 2 visa, which grants them entry to Britain for a maximum of five years and 14 days.
People who qualify for a Tier 2 visa must already have a skilled job secured in the UK, a certificate of sponsorship from their employer and a minimum of £945 in savings. Australians are also required to prove that they will be earning a minimum salary of £25,000 or alternatively, the appropriate rate for the job role they’re undertaking.