Mid-life British travellers get the chance of Aussie work visa from free trade deal

Visa scheme expanded to allow more mid-career professionals to work in Australia for several years

epa09272576 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (L) give a joint news conference during their bilateral meeting in the garden of number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, 15 June 2021. Britain is set to announce the broad terms of a free-trade deal with Australia on the day, its latest post-Brexit accord as Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to expand commerce beyond the European Union (EU).  EPA/LUKE MACGREGOR / POOL
Powered by automated translation

The UK and Australia announced details of a post-Brexit deal which will allow thousands of Britons in their 30s the chance to work Australia for several years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the agreement as a "new dawn in the UK's relationship with Australia", which he said was underpinned by "shared history and values".

The full agreement will be published in the coming days but it will mean goods such as biscuits, farm produce and cars become cheaper as tariffs are removed.

The new arrangement will make it much easier for skilled professionals aged under 35 to work in Australia - and for Australians of the same age to work in Britain - for a mid-career break.

Previously, 30 was the cut-off point for a Working Holiday Visa, which is taken up by thousands of young people every year.

Under the expanded new system, highly skilled professionals will get temporary visas for up to three years.

The requirement for those on working holiday visas to undertake back-breaking work on Australia's farms, construction sites or mines for 88 days will also reportedly be scrapped. Instead, a new agricultural visa will be created to help plug the labour shortage.

The arrangement is also said to go further than Australia went in its agreements with Japan and US.

And there is good news for those working in the legal profession. UK lawyers will be able to practice in Australia without having to requalify for the Australian system.

A Number 10 spokesperson told The National: "This deal delivers for the UK and shows what we can achieve as a sovereign trading nation.

“It is a fundamentally liberalising agreement that removes tariffs on all British goods, opens new opportunities for our services providers and tech firms, and makes it easier for our people to travel and work together.

"A final Agreement in Principle will be published in the coming days with the full detail."

Britain is Australia's eighth-largest trading partner and Australia is Britain's 20th largest, with two-way trade worth $20.7 billion.

Prior to Britain joining the then European common market in 1973, Britain was Australia's most lucrative trading market.

According to official British estimates, the deal could add £500 million ($705m) to the country's economic output over the long term, a small fraction of an economy worth around £2 trillion.

The deal has been met with some scepticism by British farmers, who fear they could be forced out of business if the deal fully eliminates tariffs on lamb and beef imports.