AustraliaFree MovementTradeUnited Kingdom

Australia & UK To Pursue Reciprocal Working Rights For Citizens

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, has stated that Australia will seek to establish reciprocal working rights for Australians and Britons as part of a dynamic trade deal once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

Julie Bishop has long campaigned for easier living and working rights for UK and Australian citizens (photo: AAP)

Written by James Skinner

James is the founder & chief executive of CANZUK International in Vancouver, Canada


During a visit to the UK this week, Bishop emphasized Australia’s commitment to establishing a trade deal with the UK; a deal previously endorsed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who spoke of establishing a deal “as soon as possible” in 2017.

Speaking with senior government officials, ministers and journalists in London, Bishop said:

“Australia is very keen to pursue a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom…I think that would be precluded if the United Kingdom were to rejoin the [EU] customs union. Australia would want to secure rights enabling its citizens to work in the UK as part of any deal”.

Australian ministers have also said it would be open to the idea of the UK joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc after Brexit. Reports have also indicated that joining the TPP is a strongly considered option for the UK as the country seeks to find alternative markets for exports.

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If it joins, the UK will be the only TPP member not to have a border on the Pacific Ocean or South China Sea. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are already members of the TPP bloc, so the addition of the UK would effectively create a CANZUK trading relationship within a larger international trade bloc encompassing countries such as Japan, Mexico and Singapore.

Bishop’s call for freer movement of citizens between Australia and the UK echos the growing sentiment of multiple government officials in Australia, including Senator James Paterson, Senator Eric Abetz and former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott; all of whom have expressed support for the UK to establish new reciprocal agreements with Canada, Australia and New Zealand for free movement and free trade.

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