Boris Johnson. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for
London's Mayor has called for the United Kingdom to open
its doors to an unlimited number of New Zealanders, saying
current restrictions on them are "disgraceful".
The public appeal by Boris Johnson, tipped by some as a
future Prime Minister, comes as the New Zealand Government
surveys New Zealanders about their experiences with UK work
Reports say recent changes have restricted work opportunities
for Kiwis, and the survey results will be used in talks with
the British government on the issue.
Statistics NZ figures show 4578 New Zealanders moved to the
United Kingdom permanently or for the long-term last year -
down from 12,416 in 2000.
Writing in the national Telegraph newspaper, Mr Johnson said
Britain had betrayed its relationships with Commonwealth
countries such as New Zealand and Australia.
He said the government should open its doors to an unlimited
number of immigrants from such countries through "bilateral
free labour mobility zones".
Mr Johnson said that during a visit to Australia, he met a
teacher who had taught in London but had to leave because of
"disgraceful" immigration rules.
"She isn't a citizen of any of the 27 countries of the
European Union," Mr Johnson wrote. "She has been told to bog
off by the authorities in our country because it was, they
said, too much of a palaver to go through the business of
'sponsoring' her to stay."
Any citizen of a European member state can live and work in
New Zealanders can obtain a two-year working holiday visa.
If they wish to stay longer, they must qualify for an
ancestry visa, or be classed as a skilled worker.
University of Auckland economics professor Tim Hazledine said
that if Britain's doors were opened, it was possible
highly-skilled workers would leave New Zealand.
But there was no real evidence of New Zealand suffering
significantly from such a "brain drain".
"New Zealanders do well overseas. They earn good money, on
the whole. And they often come back with some savings, and
maybe start a business with experience and knowledge that
they wouldn't have perhaps got in New Zealand."
University of Canterbury researcher Rosemary Baird, said she
felt Kiwis' attitude to Britain was different to their view
"I think England is more an experience - you go for two years
and travel around Europe as much as you can in your weekends
"Whereas Australia is more to get on with life and change
your fortune a bit more."
Just over 20,000 skilled workers a year are let into Britain
from outside the EU, but they must be sponsored by an
employer and pass a points-based assessment.
- Nicholas Jones of the NZ Herald