Donald Trump and Theresa May discuss US-UK Visa Boost
When UK Prime Minister Theresa May met the new US President Donald Trump in January they discussed how to boost US-UK migration during their meetings regarding trade deals for the UK and the US post-Brexit. Theresa May also discussed the potential for a free trade deal with Australia.
Free trade deals often include criteria for immigration. Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer revealed that for any deal to be made between the UK and Australia the UK would need to relax it’s Tier 2 visa rules. Theresa May rejected campaigns by “Vote Leave” to move to more points oriented immigration system similar to that operated by Australia.
The Tier 2 visa is often a route for skilled Indian migrants to the UK. At the end of 2016 during Theresa May’s visit to India and discussions regarding free trade between India and the UK, Theresa May declined to increase the number of highly skilled visas for Indian Nationals.
The Tier 2 visa is the main route for skilled workers to migrate to the UK and work. Amongst the criteria for application is the offer of a job in the UK and a certificate of sponsorship from the UK employer. The Tier 2 visa grants a stay in the UK for five to six years depending on extensions.
The US comparable H1B visa also has strict restrictions on eligibility and duration and is currently under review by Donald Trump and US Immigration who have temporarily suspended the premium processing aspect of this visa.
It actually appears that not only is it more difficult for Indian and non-EU nationals to migrate to the US and the UK. That by definition immigration between the US and UK is more difficult.
Currently, there has been no clear progress as to what will happen to UK immigration policy after Brexit. There are concerns for both EU and non-EU nationals. It seems that immigration policy may well be shaped by any developing free trade deals once Brexit is initiated. Free trade talks are underway with many countries.
UK newspaper The Telegraph revealed their sources in the UK government had pointed to Theresa May considering options to make it easier for US citizens to work in the UK, and UK citizens to work in the US. Any free trade deal with the US or Australia is likely to include the expectation, and the outcome, of more US and Australian citizens, living and working in the UK.