British MPs have reopened the debate over UK visa rules, arguing they
are unfairly favouring Europeans at the expense of those from
Commonwealth countries like Australia and New Zealand.
in parliament at Westminster this week followed the release of a report
claiming visa restrictions had resulted in a steep decline in
Australian migration to the UK in recent years.
Romford MP Andrew
Rosindell led the debate, calling for Britain to establish “better
immigration” by being more selective over who entered and settled within
British MP’s have reopened the UK Visa rules debate in parliment at Westminster. Photo / Thinkstock
He wants a reformed system which placed more
restrictions on European immigration and didn’t “alienate or exclude”
people from countries with longer and closer historical links with
“Being a subject from one of Her Majesty’s realms or
being from a Commonwealth nation should count for something when looking
to visit, work, study or live in the United Kingdom,” Mr Rosindell
“At the moment it appears to count for little.”
Tory backbencher called on the government to seriously consider London
Mayor Boris Johnson’s proposals for bilateral mobility zones between
economically developed Commonwealth nations.
“I am aware that
such a proposal has support from the New Zealand Prime Minster and the
tacit backing of Tony Abbott’s Government in Australia,” Mr Rosindell
Several MPs backed Mr Rosindell’s argument while former
Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham said it was “ridiculous” that
people from countries which have retained the Queen as head of state
were confined to areas that “accommodate the rest of the world” when
trying to enter the country.
Mr Rosindell reiterated his proposal for a special Commonwealth queue at airports such as Heathrow.
Office Minister Karen Bradley, replying on behalf of the government,
said there were still many ways members of Commonwealth nations could
live and work in the UK, such as the ancestry visa, and more progress
was being made on the issue.
A report compiled by Tim Hewish,
executive director of the think tank Commonwealth Exchange, said this
week that Australian migration to Britain dropped from from 40,000 in
1999 to 26,000 in 2011 because of visa restrictions.