There is “overwhelming support” within Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom for nationals of each country to reside and work in each others country as freely as possible - according to a new poll was conducted by the Royal Commonwealth Society. This is, however, contrary to the new immigration policies which will be introduced in the UK shortly.
The following percentages of people are in favour of removing the barriers between the countries in order to allow nationals to move and work freely with reciprocal rights:
New Zealanders- 82%
The support is especially high amongst people aged 18-25 with 90% in New Zealand and 80% in Australia.
The author of the report and director of policy and research at the Royal Commonwealth Society, Tim Hewish justified this by saying, “Collectively we possess a unique bond which needs protecting. We share a language, a legal system, and a Queen.”
On the other hand, the president of the Society supported the poll results by advocating for it. “This polling is invaluable as it shows the views and wishes of these fellow Commonwealth friends in strong support of closer ties. Governments must find ways to build them and to remove the obstacles that stand in their way.”
Yet, in reality the number of people living and working in the UK from the commonwealth countries have fallen. This is owing to the strict policy laws that have been introduced regarding immigration from outside the EU.
Staring from 6 April, migrants, from outside the EU, who have been living in the UK for less than 10 years are required to earn £35,000 annually in order to qualify for a Tier 2 visa. While Australians and New Zealanders, living in the UK for 6 months and longer are now required to pay a Health surcharge of £200 every year, whereas, previously they were exempt from this.
These “discriminatory policies, says a report by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, would make the UK “ a less welcoming destination” and could further lead to ‘potentially’ damaging formal relationships between the countries.
The poll also found that more Britons were in favour of reciprocal free mobility with Canada, Australia and New Zealand than with the EU.