Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Ancestral Visa Scheme to be swept quietly under the carpet?

At the moment if you are a Commonwealth citizen with a parent or grandparent who was born in the UK, you can enter the UK under the Ancestral Visa scheme.It gives you the right to live and work (without permit) in the United Kingdom for five years.

The number of mainly young Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders and South Africans taking advantage of this visa is small, in 2006 approximately 8,500 ancestry visa holders came to the UK and around 20,000 Commonwealth citizens have applied for settlement since 2002.

The UK government as part of its green paper "charting new pathways to citizenship" is now proposing to cut this historic link to tens of thousands of Commonwealth nationals who should have an automatic right to live and work here. This is obviously causing consternation and sadness in the rest of Commonwealth and is a totally wrong step. If we are to have a relatively open door to our fellow Europeans to enable them to work and live here (and I believe that we should), then we have a much stronger moral duty and responsibility to allow exactly the same rights to those who are, after all, our kith and kin throughout the rest of the Commonwealth.


beano said...

From Wikipedia:
"details of a new points based system announced on 7 March 2006 made it clear that ancestry routes to the UK would not be affected"

More broken promises and/or U-turns? Shurley not!

I like the idea of keeping links to Commonwealth countries, but let's face it: most of them don't have any kind of reciprocal agreement or recognition.

O'Neill said...

Point taken, although I'm guessing if you had a canadian dad or Australian grandfather then you'd get priority if you wished to immigrate to either place?

The Aberdonian said...

When a lot of people think about the rights of Commonwealth citizens they are not talking about the Nigerians, Jamaicans (despite many West Indians being of mixed race - notably the Very honourable Robert Nestor Marley) etc getting into the UK?

O'Neill said...

the aberdonian,

There's certainly no colour bar on the "ancestral visa", if a Nigerian or Jamaican has a British parent/grandparent they've has much right as anyone else to come to the UK to live and work.
More the merrier in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

Here in Australia there was a visa for Commonwealth citizens under the age of 26 who could stay in the country for up to 12 months and legally work. That may have changed but it certainly existed in the 1980s when I was in the Commonwealth Public Service. And anyway the ancestral visa scheme in the UK would only affect a relatively small proportion of Australians of British &/or Irish descent; most Anglo-Celtic Australians are third-generation Australians or beyond; in my own case, a fifth-generation Australian.