UK Tier 2 visa and Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence rules must be relaxed if UK wants free trade with Australia

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.

Australia has stated its readiness to reach an agreement with Britain and, following US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will pursue an ‘America first’ strategy, casting doubt over any potential UK-US agreement, a deal with Australia is likely to take on more urgency.

However, Downer did say that preliminary talks over a possible deal had taken place. “There could be a deal in place within eight months,” he said. Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister, Theresa May said that she would instigate talks with New Zealand in the coming months in order to agree a trade deal.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Downer said: “Access for Australian businesses has often been an integral part of the country’s free trade negotiations.”

“It might just make it a bit simpler actually. For example, an Australian company that invests in the UK might want to bring some of its executives to the UK. That can be done with what are called tier 2 visas, but maybe that could be made a little bit easier. I suspect they would be the only sort of changes you’d be looking at,” Downer added.