He is launching the How to Solve a Problem like a Visa proposal in British Parliament this morning. Johnson said he hoped the scheme would reverse the dramatic drop in Australian migration to Britain – from 40,000 in 1999 to 26,000 in 2011. Go Boris.
The report proposes to reverse the current ‘discriminatory’ British Government immigration policy, which caps the number of migrants it can take in from outside Europe at 20,000.
Johnson has put forward a ‘bilateral mobility zone” agreement between Australia and Britain, modelled on the trans-Tasman agreement between Australia and New Zealand.
This would mean that any Australian or New Zealander who wanted to travel to, live and work in Britain would get a free visa. The same would apply for British citizens who wanted to work in Australia.
However, expats would not get immediate access to welfare support. It has also been acknowledged that the idea would have to wait until after the British elections in May.
The report states: “Extra Brits would never be seen as alien. Nor would Aussies or Kiwis in Britain. The issue may come down to political climates and the resulting political will.
“It would certainly allow a greater flourishing of our common unity.
“The UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand share the same head of state, the same language and the same common-law legal system. Critically, they are all highly economically developed democracies and there is also a distinct common culture and familial bond between them.
“Taken together this has led some to ask why policies of free movement don’t already exist.
The report also recommended extending the same option to Canadians.
The idea was originally mooted back in August, when Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited London. Read TNT’s report on that here.