Brexit and Australia – How the UK Immigration Landscape Could Change
Australia and the UK have a long-standing close relationship when it comes to migration. Australians make up the fourth-largest nationality in the UK – after China, India and the USA. However, since the last decade – the number of issued work permits for Australians has halved. In addition, it’s reported Australians leave the country because their homeland’s economic landscape allows them to earn twice as much for the same work. The Australian dollar is worth much more now, meaning Aussies don’t need to use the UK as their base point for Europe, rather they can work in Australia and still travel to the old continent.
How will #Brexit affect Australians looking to go to the UK?
First and foremost, the Brexit is expected to reduce the EEA migrant flow in the UK. That would presumably let more Australian workers into the UK because they will no longer be squeezed out by free-moving EU citizens. How would this happen?
The belief is that ties between Britain and its Commonwealth partners will become stronger. It is expected that it will lead to more open borders between Britain and Australia and it will make it easier in terms of visas and immigration for Commonwealth countries.
Currently, the minimum salary threshold for migrants to work permanently in the UK is GBP 35,000. Many Australians work temporarily as nurses and teachers earning an average salary of GBP 23,000.
Former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Minister Michael Gove said that if they won the referendum, they would look to introduce a points-based immigration system which would be underpinned by skills shortages.
This system would assign points based on age, English language, education, and occupation. It would allow only skilled migrants into the country so long as they had an occupation that is in high demand in the UK and met a certain profile – someone who is educated, speaks English, unlikely to be a burden on the NHS or pension reserves due to age and can have a positive contribution to the British economy.
This suggested immigration policy is very similar to the current system that Australia operates.
This would curb the flow of migrants from Eastern Europe into the UK as many would no longer automatically be allowed to live and work in the country. Yet it would make it easier for skilled Australians to secure a visa for Britain.
However, Australians travelling through Britain automatically get entrance to all other EU countries. It is possible though that Australians may need a separate visa or stamp to travel through Europe in the future. This may also result in fewer Australians visiting Europe and the UK itself.