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Vanessa Ganguin writes for the Australia - UK Chamber of Commerce on new measures that will benefit Australian nationals

New UK Immigration Rules changes

4 April 2023

The Spring Statement of Changes of Immigration Rules has been presented to the UK parliament and among the new legislation to be taken into the rules are a few measures summarised below that may be of interest to members.

Among the 185 pages of rule changes, there are a couple of developments aimed specifically at Australian nationals. These have emerged from international trade agreement negotiations between Australia and Britain.

UK Expansion Workers from Australia

UK Expansion Workers who are Australian citizens or permanent residents will no longer need to demonstrate that they have worked for an employer for the past year as part of the UK – Australia Free Trade Agreement. This will come into force when the trade agreement starts or is provisionally applied.

The Global Business Mobility Expansion Worker visa replaced the Representative of an Overseas Business route for business entities looking to set up in the UK for operations. Sponsors not yet trading in the UK, but with a “footprint” (registered UK branch or leased premises) can send up to five people to the UK as Expansion Workers. (You can find out more about the Expansion Worker visa here.)

More Australian places on the Youth Mobility Scheme

The Youth Mobility Scheme is a handy reciprocal cultural exchange for those aged 18-30 from eligible nations to try life and work in the UK for up to two years (and vice versa). The Statement of Changes added an extra 5,000 places to make it a total of 35,000 Australian nationals that can come to the UK on this basis in 2023 with the same opportunity for young Brits heading to Australia. (To put this into perspective, Australia has a fiftieth of the 1.4 billion population of India, who have been allotted just 3,000 places allocated by random ballot in their similar cultural exchange scheme recently opened with the UK.)

The UK’s bilateral youth mobility arrangement with New Zealand was also enhanced in these latest changes, expanding the age range of those benefitting from the scheme from 18-30 to 18-35 and the length of stay from two to three years. We had expected the same enhancements with the agreement between the UK and Australia and are not sure why these have not been made in the latest Spring Immigration Rules changes announced by the Home Office.

(This side letter to the UK-Australia FTA indicated that such changes would be made within two years of the trade deal.) If any Chamber members are privy to when such changes may come in, do let us know. We have more details about how the Youth Mobility Scheme works here.