FREEDOM of movement between the UK and European Union is expected to end by March 2019 when a new immigration system will be in place.
UK Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis told the BBC it was a “simple matter of fact” that EU freedom of movement rules would not apply once the country has left the bloc.
“Freedom of movement ends when we leave the European Union in the spring of 2019,” he said. “We’re very clear that free movement ends”.
The UK is currently working on a Brexit deal with the remaining 27 member states that will determine access to the 500 million member European single market.
At present, the EU maintains its four freedoms — movement of goods, services, people and capital — are inextricable and cannot be “cherry picked”.
The UK is working to negotiate whether it can have the ability to end freedom of movement while retaining access to the single market, or whether a so-called “hard Brexit” will need to take place that would place Britain outside the customs union.
The UK government has begun a study of the “costs and benefits” of EU immigration that is due to be completed by September 2018 — just six months before it is due to leave. It has already said the 3.2 million EU nationals in the UK would be able to stay, but not outlined new immigration rules post 2019.
Rules to crackdown on UK immigration are likely to reduce the numbers of Australians able to live and work in the country – something UK High Commissioner Alexander Downer has repeatedly spoken out against in the past.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is in Australia this week laying the groundwork for a post-Brexit free trade deal with Australia. Visas are expected to be on the priority list for Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop who wants greater access to be part of any deal.
Dr Andrew Carr, a senior lecturer at ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, says the issue of UK visas for Aussie workers once Britain formally leaves the European Union is a big concern of the federal government.
“It’s a perennial issue and it’s probably the one that is closest to the hearts of a lot of Australians in terms of how they would see the relationship with the UK at the moment,” he told AAP Tuesday.
— with AAP