The arrangement would come as the price of a free trade deal with Britain – after Australia was the first country to offer after last year’s referendum.
Alexander Downer, the Australian high commissioner, expressed hopes in an interview that his country’s workforce would be able to benefit from a freedom of movement arrangement under Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy.
He also said a free trade between Australia and Britain could be finalised within 15 months.
He told the Times: “That would certainly be important to us. We have a non-discriminatory approach to immigration.
“That means we essentially don’t discriminate between countries and we would have thought that it would be to your advantage and might be to our advantage to have a non-discriminatory approach to Australians.”
Australia would like an EU-style free movement deal, Alexander Downer said.
Mr Downer is an anglophile and veteran statesman.
Mr Downer also mooted that British work visas should be made more easily accessible to Australian businessmen and professionals.
He said: “At the moment if you are a taxi driver in Bucharest you have completely free access to the UK, whereas if you are a brain surgeon from Sydney it is harder for you to get into the UK.
“We would say: ‘how is that contributing to maximising GDP growth?’. We would hope that we might be able to get some improved visa arrangements, for example for Australian professional and business people to work in the UK, along the lines of the agreement we have with the Americans.”
Government officials have started preliminary talks with Australia over a free trade agreement.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Mr Downer said farmer subsidies could put Australia at a disadvantage in agriculture.
The high commissioner warned that the “only thing that makes free trade negotiation protracted” is how much a country wants to protect certain industries.
He added: “So if the UK wants to protect agricultural industries from competition in Australia, that makes it harder to negotiate a free trade agreement.”
British and Australian officials have met for early discussions on a trade agreement, but talks risk taking a sour turn once negotiations begin proper.
BREXIT: Which parts of the UK had the majority vote?
Fri, February 17, 2017
Much of the North East of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union including Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, and Northumberland. Newcastle was the only borough to vote to remain, though by a narrow margin, which was likely due to its large student population and dependency on EU funding.
1 of 8
SUNDERLAND: The borough of Sunderland voted to leave the European Union by 61.3%.
The Government has said it plans to pay farmers the subsidies they currently receive from the EU.
But the high commissioner warned about the unfair advantage that could give British farmers over their Australian counterparts.
He said: “We don’t want the way you support your farmers to give your farmers a comparative advantage over our farmers.”
Mr Downer is a self-confessed anglophile with a British wife and three children growing up in the UK.
A veteran Australian politician, he was an MP for 24 years between 1984-2008, before taking the role of high commissioner it the UK in 2014.