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In addition to contacting your local Member of Parliament, Minister for Immigration and Prime Minister via our email campaign, you can now contact your national High Commissioners and ask for their support in promoting freedom of movement between the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Peter Woolcott - Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand
Photo: IISD Reporting Services
The High Commissioners listed below are senior diplomats with great influence in foreign policy. By downloading our personalised letter templates and emailing them to your national High Commissioners, you can help advance our free movement proposals throughout British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand diplomatic missions.

Our letter templates are easy to download, and only require the addition of your name as attribution. Once emailed, you will have expressed your support for freedom of movement between the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and publicised our campaign to senior government officials who have the influence to advocate our proposals as foreign policy.


Personalised letter templates and email addresses for each High Commissioner are listed below:


High Commissions of the United Kingdom

  High Commission of the United Kingdom in Canada:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Howard Drake, OBE

  High Commission of the United Kingdom in Australia:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Menna Rawlings, CMG

  High Commission of the United Kingdom in New Zealand:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Jonathan Sinclair, LVO



High Commissions of Australia

  High Commission of Australia in the United Kingdom:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Alexander Downer, AC

  High Commission of Australia in Canada:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Tony Negus, APM

  High Commission of Australia in New Zealand:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Peter Woolcott



High Commissions of Canada

  High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Gordon Campbell, OBC

  High Commission of Canada in Australia:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Paul Maddison

  High Commission of Canada in New Zealand:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Mario Bot



High Commissions of New Zealand

  High Commission of New Zealand in the United Kingdom:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Alexander Lockwood Smith, KNZM

  High Commission of New Zealand in Canada:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Daniel Mellsop

  High Commission of New Zealand in Australia:  
Download our letter template, sign, and email to Chris Seed


For more information about your national High Commissions or Commissioners, please contact us at support@CFMO.org.



The Canadian government is ready to introduce changes to the current immigration system, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, announced Wednesday while visiting Peel region.

McCallum’s visit to Peel was part of the government’s nationwide consultation process to bring essential changes to the immigration policy that was promised by the Liberal Party during the 2015 election campaign.

In Brampton and Mississauga, the minister met local members of parliament and stakeholders and discussed issues related to immigration. Top of the agenda was speeding up the process of family class immigration.

We’re working to meet our single most important commitment to reduce the processing time for family class”, said McCallum. “Right now, it takes approximately two years for a husband and wife to be reunited…it is unacceptable.”

McCallum said the Liberal government inherited a system that is presently creating concerns within the community and his team is working to streamline it by introducing a new and improved policy.

The new system – with changes to family and skilled class, economic category as well as visitors’ visa policy – is expected to be introduced in the coming fall season.

We want to streamline the admission of economic immigrants as well as refugees and family class. We are going to make it much easier for international students to become permanent residents”, said the Markham-Thornhill MP.

In competition with other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, he said the government is currently working to give international students more points and make it easier for them to come to Canada.

International students are at the top of the government’s list to become permanent residents because they are young, educated, and fluent in English or French”, said McCallum. "Soon, we will have a much quicker entry process”.

[Article contributed by Nouman Khalil - The Mississauga News]


CFMO Comment

This is great news for many of our supporters who are separated from family and loved ones due to Canada's current immigration system. At present, sponsoring a spouse to come to Canada takes 14 months if sponsored from the United Kingdom and 11 months if sponsored from Australia and New Zealand.

By improving Canada's current sponsorship and family immigration program, citizens of the UK, Australia and New Zealand can be reunited with spouses in Canada much quicker than the current system allows. At present, sources indicate that the Trudeau administration is looking to cut the average processing times for spousal applications to 6 months.

As Canada is a popular destination for many spouses, we expect the current backlog of applications to be completed by December 2016, with the new 6 month average processing times taking effect from January 2017.

As many of our supporters favour freedom of movement between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand because of the difficulties associated with spousal sponsorship, this is excellent news for those wishing to emigrate to Canada under a family sponsorship visa.

[Image Attribution]: John McCallum - The IB Times


Today, we have submitted a letter to all Members of Parliament in New Zealand requesting their support for freedom of movement with the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

All 121 members have received the letter attached below, outlining the benefits of free movement for New Zealand citizens and the economy.

If you would also like to connect with your local Member of Parliament and pledge your support for free movement between the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, please visit our "Help Us" section or click here.



--------------------------------------------------------

Dear Honourable Member,

With the United Kingdom’s momentous decision to leave the European Union, New Zealand has been given a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to reassert our bonds with the Commonwealth nations of the UK, Australia and Canada.

As Britain negotiates their exit from the EU, we can begin to negotiate for the re-establishment of our citizens’ rights to live and work in the UK and Canada, based on the model of our highly successful Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement with Australia.

In pursuing this, we will assist the United Kingdom in embracing their new future outside the European Union and forging a new role in the world, which will leave New Zealand more prosperous and diplomatic. The benefits of re-establishing our citizens’ rights to live and work in Canada and the United Kingdom will be substantial, and will, in our estimation, form an important bridge in allowing our economy to evolve into a leader of innovation, giving New Zealand a real and decisive competitive advantage in the global economy while retaining control over immigration and border security.


Support

Re-establishing citizens’ rights to live and work throughout the Commonwealth has wide spread support in all four nations. A major international poll conducted by the Royal Commonwealth Society, in March 2016, found that 70% of Australians, 75% of Canadians, 82% of New Zealanders and 58% of Britons support the free movement of citizens between our countries. This shows a remarkable level of support and provides a clear mandate for promoting free movement within the parliament of New Zealand.


Innovation

The key to our future prosperity lies in how effectively we innovate and compete in an increasingly globalised marketplace. By securing the ability of New Zealanders to work and study in the United Kingdom and Canada, we will unlock a unique and substantial competitive advantage for our nation globally.

In effect, we will create the foundation of a single labour market servicing the world’s third largest combined economy. Throughout this huge region, New Zealanders will work and study freely while our businesses recruit the best talent, all without the cost, risk and often lengthy delays currently experienced.

The ability of New Zealanders to work and study in both Canada and the UK will also promote innovation, as we will have unparalleled access to the ideas and innovations being developed in the European, North American and the Asian-Pacific markets.


Implementation

The expansion of the special visa scheme should, in our opinion, be secured through non-binding ministerial agreements such as those which form the basis of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. The advantage of this approach is that it leaves New Zealand free to adjust the agreement(s) as the situation demands without impediment, as well as ensuring that we retain full control over our borders and immigration system with no dilution of sovereignty.

With the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union, we now have the greatest opportunity for our nation to achieve freedom of movement, and secure economic and social prosperity for citizens of New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. We share the same Head of State, the same common-law legal system, the same culture, the same respect for democracy and even the same language. It is now time for us to embrace our historical ties, and grasp the substantial benefits that freedom of movement between our four nations would bring.

I look forward to your response, and sincerely hope we can work together in promoting this popular mandate within the parliament of New Zealand.

Yours faithfully,


Andrew Walton

Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation

Andrew.Walton@CFMO.org




In a huge boost for our campaign, Boris Johnson MP (who has publicly supported freedom of movement between the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) has been selected as the new Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the United Kingdom.

The appointment comes after the announced resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron on June 24th, and the succession of Theresa May as the new Prime Minister on July 13th.

After a trip to Australia in 2013, the then-Mayor of London indicated how a new immigration scheme should exist between Australia and the UK, stating the "British are more deeply contacted with Australians – culturally and emotionally – than with any other country on earth".

Johnson also pledged support for a bi-lateral mobility zone for British citizens wanting to live and work within the Commonwealth, emphasising visa liberalisation with Canada, Australia and New Zealand:

"The issue may come down to political climates and the resulting political will. The UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand share the same head of state, the same language and the same common-law legal system. Critically, they are all highly economically developed democracies and there is also a distinct common culture and familial bond between them".

With the United Kingdom also voting to leave the European Union on June 23rd, and the Australian High Commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, also pledging support for freedom of movement, now is the opportune time for the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to negotiate agreements for the implementation of our free movement proposals.

To contact Boris Johnson and pledge your support for freedom of movement between the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, download our personalised letter template here and forward a signed copy to:

boris.johnson.mp@parliament.uk
(cc: fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk)

You can also join our email campaign here, and forward our personalised email templates to your local Member of Parliament and national Immigration Minister.



New Zealand is willing to help the United Kingdom negotiate trade deals when it formally leaves the European Union, with the hope the UK will strike a quick deal with New Zealand.

Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, was not ruling out sending New Zealand trade negotiators to the UK.

"I'm not going to forecast what requests they might make, I'm simply saying that they will be looking to put in place a whole new series of relationships and arrangements to replace the EU arrangements they have. They may see some value in, for example, in a quick FTA [free trade agreement] with New Zealand to have a symbolic demonstration effect. Those are the sorts of areas we've been talking about."

Mr McCully spoke with Britain's High Commissioner to New Zealand, Jonathan Sinclair, on Monday, and asked him what the UK might need in preparation for trade negotiations between the two Commonwealth countries:

"I've said to him that we understand they've got architecture with Europe that will disappear, new architecture they'll need to replace. We hope a very high priority in that new architecture will be its relationship with New Zealand because we have significant trading interests there".

"We also know they have a broader field of tradework to undertake and given our very close friendship and historic ties we want to be helpful in any way we can be."

But Mr McCully said it was still early days.






It will still be some time before the UK formally withdraws from the EU, and that timetable has not yet been set.

Prime Minister, John Key, said that at the moment, New Zealand negotiators were very busy.

"We've got a lot happening under our own watch so we're not really looking to lend people to the UK, but we would certainly if we were really requested...we would give them the benefit of our knowledge but they've got some quite sophisticated people as well."

Mr Key said the challenge for the UK was going to be the sheer volume of people they would need, as they won't just have to negotiate individual deals with EU members, but other countries around the world.

[Article originally posted by Jane Patterson - Radio New Zealand]

[Image attribution]: John Key - Express



Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK says Brexit could provide an opportunity to renegotiate visa arrangements and make it easier for Australians to live and work in Britain.

Alexander Downer has been a vocal critic of restrictions introduced on working visas for Australians who travel to and live in the UK, describing its policies as “discriminatory”.

Speaking on ABC radio, Mr Downer said that as a representative of the Australian government in the UK, his job was to seek opportunities amid the Brexit fallout.

And while the implications of the Eurozone breakup for Australia remain to be seen, he pledged to seize on the transition as an opportunity to address restrictions on working visas, potentiating the discussions for freedom of movement.

We’ve been critical of the arrangements that have been put in place”, he said.

There are all sorts of restrictions on Australians right now and whether there’ll be opportunities to change that when the new arrangements come into place, we simply don’t know. But we should try in any case, and that’s what we’ll do.






The number of Australians working in the UK has declined by 40 per cent since 2008, and while Mr Downer concedes the shift can partly be attributed to economic forces, there are also restrictions in place preventing Australians from becoming employed that the British government has refused to budge on.

In 2011, the UK cut off entry routes for Australian skilled workers and capped employer-sponsored visas at just 20,000 places a year. The British government cited requirements by the European Union to prioritise workers within the zone.

In April this year, further restrictions were introduced including a minimum income requirement.

The number of Australians obtaining work visas from the UK Home Office has halved in the past decade, and now sits at less than 15,000.

The Australian government’s protest to the visa crackdown, led by Mr Downer, resulted in an extraordinary (while ultimately futile) debate at Westminster earlier this year.

Mr Downer has continued his call for changes to the Tier 2 visa system to ensure Australians don’t have to travel home in order to change jobs and make it easier for them to gain employment in the UK in the first place.

University of Adelaide UK politics expert, Clement Macintyre, told news.com.au that the referendum result left room for negotiations that couldn’t have happened before.

The opposition to high levels of immigration in the UK that lay at the centre of some of the Brexit campaigning was making it harder for Australians in some respects to land visas and secure work arrangement because there was increasing pressure for the government to crack down across the board”, he said.

The UK economy used to rely on European workers to fill many skilled and unskilled jobs, but Professor Macintyre said it was now likely those jobs would be open to people from other parts of the world, particularly Commonwealth countries.

Under the old prospect, what we were confident about was that as long as the UK was part of the EU, there was unlikely to be any change for the visa requirements for Australians in the UK”, he said.

This vote at least opens the door to negotiation that could lead to outcomes that are favourable for Australian people who want to spend some time in and live and work in the UK.

He said while it was too early to speculate on Britain’s negotiations out of the EU or its leadership, the possibility of a government with Boris Johnson as a Cabinet member was good news for Australians.

The former London mayor has previously advocated for a “free mobility labour zone” between Commonwealth countries, and in 2015, proposed an Australia-UK agreement to allow greater movement of skilled people.

He believes that Commonwealth citizens should be given more freedom to contribute to London’s economy, culture and communities, particularly given the strong cultural connections between our countries”, a spokeswoman for the then-mayor told news.com.au.

As a start, the mayor has proposed an agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom that allows greater movement of skilled people between both countries in order to address skills shortages. This could be extended further to other Commonwealth countries, if successful.

With the shock outcome only 3 weeks old, uncertainty remains the key word in discussion of all things Brexit.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently revealed that Australia and New Zealand could work together on joint free trade and visa agreements to steer the region through the shock waves of Britain’s exit.

If my government is re-elected, John Key (Prime Minister of New Zealand) and I will meet shortly thereafter with our officials and set up a co-operative framework in which Australia and New Zealand will work together to ensure that we maximise any opportunities that arise out of these changes, but also ensure above all that the interests of Australians and New Zealanders and Australian and New Zealand businesses are protected”, he said.

[Article by Liz Burke - News.com.au]

[Image Attribution]: Alex Downer - News.com.au | Boris Johnson - ABC News


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