Campaigners want visa rules relaxed for some Commonwealth countries
The report, Reconnecting with the Commonwealth: the UK’s free trade opportunities, has a number of suggestions for visa arrangements between the four countries.
It says the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada should make it easier for people travelling within the Commonwealth bloc to get a skilled working or business visitor visa.
The report was published by the Free Enterprise Group, a loose alliance of Tory MPs who promote free enterprise and free market principles and policies.
Tourists at Trafalgar Square
It said: “Such an idea was recently polled across these countries and found strong support, particularly among young adults.
“Exploring this with a feasibility study and working group between these nations should be an option.”
The report was written by Braintree MP James Cleverly and Tim Hewish of the Royal Commonwealth Society and has a foreword by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Quantas aeroplanes lined up at Sydney Airport
This is an exciting time for Britain and an exhilarating one for the countless millions elsewhere who appreciate Britain’s unique contribution to western civilisation
Former Australian PM Tony Abbott
Mr Abbott writes: “This is an exciting time for Britain and an exhilarating one for the countless millions elsewhere who appreciate Britain’s unique contribution to western civilisation.
“Free trade agreements with economically advanced Commonwealth countries are the obvious place for Britain to start.”
A separate and unrelated group, Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organization, has launched a petition calling for similar visa arrangements on Change.org which has already garnered 173,000 signatures.
Australia’s high commissioner to London Alexander Downer also wants better access for businesspeople before agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.
Canada House in central London
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Tue, August 16, 2016
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He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We would want to see greater access for Australian businesspeople working in the UK and that’s often been a part of free trade negotiations – it hasn’t always been by the way, but it’s often been part of our free trade negotiations.
“It might just make it a bit simpler actually, for example an Australian company that invests in the UK might want to bring some of its executives to the UK.
“That can be done with what are called tier 2 visas, but maybe that could be made a little bit easier. I suspect they would be the only sort of changes you’d be looking at.”