Australians call for new migrant rights after Brexit

COMMONWEALTH countries are urging the British government to give their citizens improved rights after Brexit.
Ms Bishop told The Times there would be widespread disappointment in Australia and fellow Commonwealth countries if nothing is done to secure the rights of its population in Britain.

She warned her concerns were echoed by New Zealand, India and Canada.

Under the proposals which Theresa May outlined to fellow leaders in June, all EU nationals who have been in the UK for five years will be entitled to “settled status”, granting them the same rights as their British neighbours to healthcare, education, welfare benefits and pensions.

Those with a shorter period of residency will be able to stay on to reach the five-year threshold and others arriving after a yet-to-be-defined cut-off date will have a “grace period” to regularise their status.

Ms Bishop has demanded the same rights as those offered to the EU – meaning, Australians will have a greater right to remain in the UK.

Mrs May said her plans “Give those three million EU citizens in the UK certainty about the future of their lives and we want the same certainty for the more than one million UK citizens who are living in the European Union.”

The Home Office has plans to give European citizens wanting to work in Britain after Brexit a soft touch immigration option.

They would not need to apply for visas but their employers would need to get a work permit. This way, the government would be able to control the number of permits issued.

However, many Commonwealth countries fear the system would penalise their citizens. They have to have secured a job and have a visa at hand to ensure that they can come to England.

Australians have to obtain a visa to allow them to stay in the UK for five years – but are only eligible if they have secured a skilled job, with a £25,000 salary.

At least 137,000 EU citizens came to work in the UK last year.

Figures show that there were at least 157,000 Australians and New Zealand working in the UK.

But many commonwealth countries are hoping that the process could be streamlined.

The Indian government said the new immigration rules had raised concern.

India’s Irudaya Rajan, an adviser to the Indian government said: “Mobility issues are of importance to us.

“We cannot separate free movement of people from the free flow of goods, services and investments.

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