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UK has 'no plans' to make it easier for Australians to enter after Brexit

Amber Rudd, in a rebuke to the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, says she does not want to increase migration from Australia

Oct 01


The UK home secretary, Amber Rudd, has slapped down the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and insisted the government had “no plans” to make it easier for Australians to come to the UK after Brexit. Rudd said she did not want to increase immigration from Australia, despite the foreign secretary’s insistence last month that it would be a “fantastic thing” if the UK had a “more sensible system” for dealing with migration between the two countries.

Johnson had told reporters after a meeting between British and Australian ministers in London: “This is something where I think we can make progress and I’m confident that we will.” Tony Abbott says Australia should strike shotgun trade deal with post-Brexit UK Read more But in a sign of the tensions within the cabinet over Brexit, Rudd scuppered the wishes of Leave campaigners who wanted closer post-Brexit ties with Commonwealth countries, potentially including more immigration. The comments also put a dent in calls from the former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott for a better deal on immigration between the two countries. Abbott told a UK-Australia Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Monday that Australians and Britons should be allowed to more freely work and travel in each other’s country – given their shared history and culture.

Asked about Johnson’s comments, she told a Red Box fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham: “Somebody promised to increase immigration from Australia, who would that be?” When the questioner replied “Mr Johnson”, Rudd went on: “Mr Johnson again, yes. There are no plans to increase immigration from Australia. We have a very good relationship with Australia and young persons’ access, particularly to Australia, is very good. There are no plans to increase immigration from Australia “[Australian foreign minister] Julie Bishop was over just a few weeks ago, we agreed that it was a good thing. “She is aware, as everybody is, that everything is under review – but I do think that that particular scheme with Australia works very well, so I wouldn’t envisage a change.” Asked if she agreed with Leave campaigners who want to see more immigration from the commonwealth, Rudd, who is in charge of immigration policy, replied: “I don’t think it’s helpful to refight the campaign.”

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