No immigration restrictions between some Commonwealth Countries?

Garnering growing support in recent months, an online petition hosted by The Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organization proposes that Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom should allow free movement amongst their citizens. Perhaps shocking for some to consider, the proposal aims to change the immigration laws of the respective countries to allow the citizens of each reciprocal rights to work and reside in whichever of the countries they please.

Currently there exists the model for such a proposal, most notably in the relationship between Australia and New Zealand. Although there may be arguments for and against such a proposal, it does pose some interesting legal questions. How would such a proposal be implemented, both logistically and legally? Would other rights extend to these reciprocal citizens, beyond the right to work and reside? Medicare? Voting rights or other entitlements?

Although it is unlikely we will see a change to the current policies of these nations with respect to immigration in the near future, it is worth noting that as of November 2015 the petition has garnered 100,000 signatures and created a stir on social media.

The reality is that immigration can be both a complicated and costly endeavor. Contrary to what many people believe, it is not a matter of merely paying some money to the Department of Immigration. Prospective visitors, temporary residents, and permanent resident applicants are evaluated on a myriad of criteria. Medical examinations are often required, assessment of foreign earned qualifications and extensive criminal history checks may also be required at various stages of the application process. Complying with the proper timeframes and requirements is necessary to ensure opportunities are not missed, nor unneeded expenses incurred prematurely.

At McLaughlins Lawyers, we have the knowledge and expertise gained through experience to offer advice in relation to the following visas:-

Working Holiday / Second Working Holiday

 Grants visa holders casual work rights in order to supplement their travels. Work undertaken must be incidental to the main purpose of holidaying, with a restriction of 6 months with any one employer.

 Student Visas / Post Graduate Visa

 Numerous visas exist to permit individuals to undertake studies in Australia. Varying length and restrictions apply, however, students are permitted work to supplement their expenses while in Australia.

Employer Sponsored / State Sponsored

 The employer sponsored (457) is one of several subclasses of visas whereby employers are able to sponsor overseas workers to work in Australia on a temporary basis. Subclasses exist for rural employers or state sponsored applications. Successful applicants granted temporary residency.


This class of visa promotes foreign business owners and investors to settle in Australia, hopefully encouraging new economic growth and capitalization of existing opportunities in Australian business.

Partner / Spouse / Family Members

Several visa subclasses exist depending upon the nature of the relationship. Spouses, parents, and children may all qualify to emigrate to Australia to be reunited with their Australian family members.

Permanent Residency / Citizenship

 The skilled migration pathway allows successful applicants to emigrate to Australia. Based upon a points system with factors such as education, experience and age, this visa allows for individuals to obtain unrestricted work and is the pathway to citizenship should this be considered. With citizenship, successful applicants are entitled to the same rights as all Australian born citizens.

Knowledge of the Department of Immigrations practices and guidelines can ensure that your application is appropriately handled. Should complications arise, feel assured that your matter is being handled by a qualified professional.

For further information or to make an appointment to see a migration specialist, contact McLaughlins Lawyers.

Author: Oliver Peacock

Partner: Ian Kennedy

Date: 04/12/2015