Australians may be able to live and work in the UK for longer under visa changes

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Australians may be able to live and work in the UK for longer under visa changes

Australians under 30 will be able to live and work in the UK for more than two years, under proposed visa changes being considered in the wake of Brex

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Australians under 30 will be able to live and work in the UK for more than two years, under proposed visa changes being considered in the wake of Brexit.

Canberra and London are drawing up a free trade deal as Britain looks to establish new international partnerships before it crashes out of the European Union on December 31, when the ‘transition period’ finally comes to an end.

Among the new travel arrangements being proposed is that Australian and UK nationals would be able to move more freely between the two countries.

Both sides are pushing for greater recognition of qualifications so that high-flying professionals will be able to float back-and-forth throughout their career. 

Australians under 30 will be able to live and work in the UK for more than two years, under proposed visa changes being considered in the wake of Brexit (stock image)

Australians under 30 will be able to live and work in the UK for more than two years, under proposed visa changes being considered in the wake of Brexit (stock image)

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is hoping to have a post-Brexit free-trade deal with the UK wrapped up by the end this year.

‘First and foremost, this is a trade deal, and our number one priority will be to improve market access and boost export opportunities for Australian farmers, businesses and investors,’ he said.

‘Where there are opportunities for more flexibility around work rights and the movement of people, particularly youth, we are open to exploring them.

‘There also appears to be ambition on both sides to increase the mutual recognition of qualifications and standards to make it easier for skilled professionals to work in each other’s countries.’

As it stands at the moment under the Youth Mobility Scheme, Australians aged between 18 to 30 can live and work the UK for up to two years. 

Britons can stay in Australian for as long as three years provided they spend six months picking fruit or carrying out other ‘specified’ work in a regional areas.

In October last year when UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss visited Canberra, she pushed for the two countries to introduce a freedom of movement scheme similar to the one Australia shares with New Zealand. 

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said 'There also appears to be ambition on both sides to increase the mutual recognition of qualifications and standards to make it easier for skilled professionals to work in each other's countries.' (pictured, London's famous Piccadilly Circus)

 Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said ‘There also appears to be ambition on both sides to increase the mutual recognition of qualifications and standards to make it easier for skilled professionals to work in each other’s countries.’ (pictured, London’s famous Piccadilly Circus)

‘We want a fully comprehensive trade deal that reflects our deep, ongoing relationship, the friendship between our two countries, and the fact that Australians want to come and live and work in Britain, and Brits want to come and live and work in Australia,’ she said.

Although freedom of movement between Australia and UK is a tempting proposition, Prime Minister Scott Morrison quickly poured cold water on the idea.  

‘The New Zealand arrangement is quite unique and it’s not one we would probably ever contemplate extending,’ Mr Morrison said.

But while a free-for-all might be ruled out for now, former high commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, said in June that easier access for professionals, academics and young people is likely to be part of the ongoing negotiations. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) rejected the UK's freedom of movement proposal after saying he wasn't interested in having a New Zealand-style agreement

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) rejected the UK’s freedom of movement proposal after saying he wasn’t interested in having a New Zealand-style agreement 

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