Commonwealth citizens should have the same rights as Europeans to live and work in Britain after Brexit, the Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop has said.
Bishop told The Times that her Government would be concerned if the UK Government introduced stricter rules for Australian workers to come to Britain than for those from the EU.
Eurosceptics argued during the EU referendum that Brexit could help the UK improve relations with the Commonwealth.
However, an Australian Government source told the newspaper that it’s concerns could be brought up in future trade talks. They added that New Zealand and Canada were also concerned.
The Government is reportedly considering proposals that would allow EU citizens to come to the UK without a visa and instead make companies responsible for applying for their work permits.
There are concerns this system would discriminate against Commonwealth citizens, who are usually forced to apply for a visa and secure a job in advance of being granted permission to come to Britain.
It comes after 45 Conservative MPs wrote to the Home Secretary calling for Commonwealth citizens to have UK visas fast-tracked – in a bid to send out an “important message” after Brexit.
In a letter to Amber Rudd, the MPs urged the Government to “extend the hand of friendship to our Commonwealth partners” and make the UK more welcoming for Commonwealth citizens.
The MPs suggest that visa rules be fast-tracked for visitors from the 52 Commonwealth countries, while signs at the border should be changed to specifically welcome Commonwealth visitors.
Join CANZUK International on social media