Brexit BONUS: Australia to make it easier for Britons to travel there after EU exitOn August 3, 2017 by Margot
Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of creating a “global Britain” after the Brexit vote was announced last June.
Australian ministers have today announced they are working with ministers in the UK to build a strong trade and travel relationship between the two countries.
The Commonwealth country – a mere 9,443 miles from Britain – is said to be in ‘preliminary’ talks with the UK in the hope of easing travel restrictions to make it easier for its citizens to come to Britain, alongside a future free-trade deal.
Australia’s High Commissioner in London Alexander Downer said he wasn’t looking for “completely free movement” like the UK currently has with the EU.
He said: “We would be looking at making it easier for business and professional people, academics and the like to move more easily between Australia and the UK in both directions.”
Currently British citizens hoping to visit Australia must apply for a electronic visitor visa. On arrival visitors may be asked to provide evidence of funds to support their stay and a return or onward ticket.
Generally, Australians do not need a visa to visit the UK as a tourist for a holiday – but an extended visit would require a visa.
The deal would also grant Australian tourists access to the e-gate systems in place at British airports for speed and ease.
Downer added: “First of all the U.K has to extricate itself from the EU so that will take a bit of time I suppose.
“But once that is done we will be able to pursue things like this.”
The news comes after it was revealed Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, spoke to his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop regarding a free-trade deal.
Bishop said she was hoping for a “high-quality, comprehensive free trade agreement” with the UK following Brexit, but stressed that it would have to come after a separate deal with the EU.
Mr Johnson insisted that both the UK and EU had a mutual interest in preserving and enhancing “frictionless” movement of goods.
A government spokesperson told Politico: “As the U.K. leaves the EU, we will continue to deepen our trade and investment relationship and an ambitious and comprehensive bilateral trade deal with Australia remains a priority.
“However, it is too early to specify exactly what would be covered by a future deal.”
Discussing the Brexit negotiations under way in Brussels, Mr Johnson said: “I have no doubt that we will get a great deal that preserves and even enhances the frictionless movement of goods that is in the interests of both sides of the Channel.”