Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott advised Britain on Monday to set a cap on skilled migration to avoid being “swamped” in a post-Brexit world.
Speaking at an event hosted by think tank Policy Exchange, Abbott urged Britain to “get this done” as the 31 October deadline for Brexit draws closer and praised new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the “people’s champion.”
The former leader, who lost his own seat at the last Australian federal election, is known for his tough stance on immigration. He addressed the global movement of people after he was asked about Australia’s points-based migration system.
“The great thing about the points system is that it attempts to ensure that everyone coming as a permanent resident and prospective new citizen of our country is capable of making a contribution,” Abbott said.
“The best way to ensure that that is the case is if you are coming to do a job from day one, pay taxes from day one, integrate with your work mates from day one.”
Immigration officials in Australia assess skilled worker visa applications awarding points for proficiency in English, work experience and age.
Abbott advised Britain to consider limiting the number of migrants it allowed in post-Brexit because of the sheer desireablity of it as a place to live and raise a family.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 10, 2017
“You’d probably have to put a cap on numbers because Britain is such a desirable location and you don’t want the place swamped with people trying to make a new life here.”
Noting the fraught nature of current UK politics and Brexit uncertainty, Abbott was in no doubt about what the future may hold if the country held its nerve against Brussels.
“I have long wanted to make a serious speech about Brexit, I never imagined it would turn out to be at such a fraught time,” Abbott said.
He backed Johnson to win an election.
“If it is an election that pits the parliament versus the people and the people’s champion then I know which side I’d rather be working for.”
Quoting the Bible, the former seminarian said those fighting for Britain to remain a part of Europe would ultimately fail.
“They will fail though because in the end there won’t be enough of them to usurp a democratic vote, to sacrifice their country for short term political gain and to put Europe before Britain.
“As the scripture says, he who puts his hand to the plougher and then turns back is not worthy of the kingdom.”
Abbott also touched on the protests in Hong Kong, 22 years after its people last truly knew freedom under the rule of British law.
“If they thought that Britain would be lost in Europe, as they fear being lost in China, they’d hardly be carrying your flag. For them, it’s a symbol of freedom; and for you, surely, a source of pride in all you have done and all you yet can do.”