The UK government will make it easier for Australians to obtain working visas, according to a white paper released Wednesday.
The annual cap on work visas will be removed for Australian citizens and people from certain other non-European Union countries under the new scheme to begin at the start of 2021. The cap is currently set to 20,700, according to The Guardian, with a fixed sub-quota up for grabs each month.
The white paper has also relaxed the current work visa requirement for Australians to be “high skilled” down to just “skilled”, plus a minimum education requirement of A-levels, which is the UK equivalent of year 12 high school certification.
The changes come as part of the UK’s shift away from the European Union, with home secretary Sajid Javid saying the new scheme is the “biggest change to our immigration system in a generation”.
“We are taking a skills-based approach to ensure we can attract the brightest and best migrants to the UK,” he said.
“These measures will boost our economy and benefit the British people.”
According to The Australian, the UK government has not yet announced how “skilled” will be defined, but there have been cabinet suggestions to lower the minimum salary to £30,000 (AU$53,000) to allow easier access to work visas for professions such as nurses and agricultural workers.
Australia, in the white paper, has been classified as a “low risk” country — along with other nations such as the USA, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Japan and New Zealand — allowing work visa applicants from those areas to benefit from the proposed reforms.
The new scheme would also cut down the processing time for work visas down to two to three weeks, according to the paper, compared to months currently.
In news that will be welcome relief for any Australian that has experienced the long queues at Heathrow Airport, visitors from “low risk” countries will also be allowed to use electronic passport gates at UK immigration ports from the coming northern summer.
Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, news and tech news.