17 January 2013

William Hague defends UK visa options for Australians

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Foreign Secretary William Hague has defended UK visa options open to Australian passport holders after the Post Study Work route was closed last year.

UK visa

Mr Hague defended UK visa policy in Australia.

Mr Hague is currently on an official visit to the Pacific region and has already faced questions about UK visa policy during the New Zealand leg of his trip; both Australians and Kiwis are concerned about the Government's changes to immigration policy in the UK.

The Government has been trying to reduce net migration to the UK to the 'tens of thousands' before 2015, as part of these efforts, the Post Study Work route available to graduating international students has been all but closed.

Mr Hague however, says there are still plenty of options available to all Australians - including international students - who want to move to the UK.

"We have, for example, the Youth Mobility scheme, which is undersubscribed for Australians," Mr Hague said.

"We also now have for people on student visas the ability to move to a working visa without the need to go out of the country in order to change that arrangement."

Mr Hague said the UK Ancestry Visa, which allows foreign citizens who have or had at least one British grandparent to live and work in the UK for five years, is also popular among Australians given the two nations' shared heritage.

However, the foreign secretary admitted that the skilled worker category is currently undersubscribed and poor representation of the route could be the cause of concern among potential Australian and Kiwi applicants.

"It may be we need improved awareness of all those routes," he added.

"But there is scope under all of those routes for more Australians to spend time in the UK."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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