Australia and India have joined the migration debate in the UK by demanding the same deal that EU migrants will get after Brexit. The calls come as the UK is negotiating its exit deal with the EU and migration will come to the fore as one of the key negotiation pieces. But Australia and India have spotted an opportunity to exploit the UK's need for migration after Brexit by stepping into demand the same rights for their citizens if and when the UK enters trade deals with them.
The countries are part of the Commonwealth and have a long trading history with the UK. The message has been solidified by Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop who noted that Australia would be disappointed if their citizens were not treated the same as EU citizens after the UK leaves the union in 2019.
Under current proposals EU citizens would not need a visa to visit the UK, they would only require one if they wanted to work and even then that would only be after an extended period. But Commonwealth countries are requesting a level playing field due to their long history with the UK. These countries also sense that the UK is at something of a disadvantage as it will need strong trade deals after leaving the union.
Earlier this year Australia's high commissioner to the UK said that Australia needed "greater access" to facilitate a trade deal. Whereas the Indian government have suggested that freedom of movement and trade are interlinked. This will only add pressure to Theresa May and her government who are currently trying to tie up the UK's exit from the EU. Westminster officials will be keenly aware that the UK will need to enter trade deal negotiations as soon as the EU negotiations are finished and that countries such as Australia and India will help form the backbone of the UK's trade future.
Thus far there has been no talk of trade deals from the British government, they first need to deal with the tricky subject of the ongoing negotiations in Brussels. Once this is completed they can then begin the long process of entering trade talks with Commonwealth nations. There is also the issue of the US trade deal, this is likely to be relatively smooth due to Theresa May having a closer relationship with US President Donald Trump than most World leaders, though whether either of them will be around long enough to commit to any deals is another potential issue.
Brexit has put the UK in a quandary with regards to its trading and migration future. The result of which is a confusing period where there seems to be little certainty in what the future holds. Though this will start to become clearer once the current Brussels negotiations are finished, then the real work starts to maintain the UK's strong global influence without its biggest trading partner.