Australia

London mayor Boris Johnson backs UK migration report

Mayor of London Boris Johnson addresses the Conservative party conference in Birmingham - 30 September 2014 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mayor of London Boris Johnson was named "Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK" earlier this year

London's mayor has backed calls for Australians and New Zealanders to be given special status to live and work in the UK without restriction.

Boris Johnson leant his support to a new report criticising the "sorry state of affairs" with the Commonwealth.

It calls for bilateral mobility zones with Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Mr Johnson backed such a move in 2013 after he said an Australian teacher was "effectively kicked out of Britain" because she was not an EU citizen.

The report by the Commonwealth Exchange group was released on Monday.

In it, the think-tank says the state of Commonwealth migration in the UK is in a "parlous state" and is affecting the UK "economically, socially, and culturally".

It says immigration from many Commonwealth nations has collapsed in the last decade, while immigration from the EU has more than doubled.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the report quotes an unnamed Australian teacher who says the bureaucracy inflicted on other Commonwealth citizens by the UK is "absolutely ridiculous".

"Jumping through hoops, playing the waiting game and being in limbo is definitely something I wish not to have [again] any time soon," she said.

The report says the bilateral agreements should be modelled on the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (TTTA) between Australia and New Zealand,

"The TTTA should be seen as a starting point for the UK to build a flexible, fair, reasonable and reciprocal regime," report author Tim Hewish was quoted as saying by the AAP news agency.

Mr Johnson was named "Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK" in January 2014.

Accepting the award, he said: "I think it's basically because I am mayor of the 12th biggest Australian city in the world and we're lucky to have a dynamic Australian population here in London."

More on this story