Australians fear new “discriminatory” UK working visa and migration policies will see thousands of workers forced home with little hope of return. At the same time Britain is welcoming record numbers of European Union (EU) arrivals who face no restrictions on starting a new life in this country.
According to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), a new tranche of UK visa rules is set to come into effect next year that the Australian Government has already warned would cause “structural damage” to formal relations between the two countries. New Zealanders and Canadians will also be impacted.
A summary of the DFAT report, obtained by News Corp Australia, pointed to widespread disenchantment among Australian directed or related businesses operating in the UK.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph reports more than half of 100 businesses surveyed, staffed with between 10 and 10,000 staff, said visa rule changes would directly impact planned investment in the UK while two-thirds of respondents said it would “significantly impact their ability and willingness to recruit Australians”.
“The UK’s visa changes are making this country a less welcoming destination for Australians,” the Australian High Commission-signed report states.
“This potentially harms the UK’s image and reputation in Australia, and might even in the long term undermine the unique Australia-UK bond.”
In 2011 the British Government closed certain skilled worker visas and capped other at just 20,000 positions for all nations from outside the EU. The move came after the EU’s open borders saw a dramatic rise of skilled or semi-skilled workers flood the UK, particularly from eastern European nations.
As Breitbart London has reported, official figures released in August revealed that the number of EU migrant workers entering Britain has jumped to a dramatic two million people, a rise of four per cent on the previous quarter.
According to the Official for National Statistics, estimates by nationality show that between April to June 2014 and April to June 2015, the number of UK nationals working in the UK increased by 84,000 to reach 27.76 million, while the number of non-UK nationals working in the UK increased by 257,000 to reach 3.18 million.
Meanwhile, as EU workers soared in numbers, there has been a 50 per cent drop in Australian migration between 1999 and 2011, to just 26,000 people with another 14 per cent drop in the past four years.
From 2016 UK worker restrictions are to be further tightened and extended to intra-company transfers, spouses right to work and see levies implemented but these are likely only to affect workers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other Commonwealth countries outside the EU.
The Australian Government has formally protested the move in a rare strongly worded diplomatic missive from High Commissioner Alexander Downer to Whitehall and Westminster’s Migration Advisory Committee.
In 2010 British Prime Minister David Cameron promised ‘no ifs, no buts’ to cut net migration – the number of people entering the country minus the number leaving – to the tens of thousands.
He seems to have achieved that aim – but only in relation to workers from the UK’s Commonwealth cousins while EU migration surges to unprecedented numbers.