Plans to Abolish 'ancestry visa'
British Government is considering a proposal to end the automatic right of
Commonwealth nationals to live in the UK using ancestry visas.
British Home Office's Green Paper on the issue says, "We need to
decide whether a Commonwealth national's ancestral connections to the UK
are sufficient to allow them to come here to work without the need to
satisfy a resident labour market test."
government is proposing that 'ancestry visa-holders' face the same
restrictions on working here as other non-European migrants. It comes
alongside proposals to introduce an "immigrant tax" for
non-European visitors and the requirement that non-European spouses and
fiancees of British national face and pass an English language test if
they are to enter the UK at all.
so-called 'ancestry visa', introduced 36 years ago by Britain as a mark of
appreciation of its former dominions, is available to Commonwealth
nationals aged 17 or over, whose grandparents were born in the UK. This
visa entitles holders to live in Britain for four years to work and
eventually to settle.
of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have mainly used the permit.
Labour MP Austin Mitchell, criticised the move to remove ancestry
visa-holders' rights and privileges as an un-British attempt. He said,
"What is happening here is that in a general rush to make ourselves
European, we are trying to shrug off our Commonwealth commitments."
stressed, "The dominions sprang to our aid when we needed them in two
world wars and since. Their inhabitants are of British descent. They are
keen to maintain the long-standing Commonwealth ties and associations with
this country. Yet, the Green Paper blithely proposes to abolish the
ancestry visas granted in recognition of these ties on the grounds that
they are 'outdated'."
denounced the proposed change as a sign of the government's "contempt
for the long historic associations between Britain, New Zealand and
you have a long-standing historical and emotional ties, ties of kith and
kin, and indeed supporting each other through two World Wars and events
afterwards," he said.
can't just kick away historical obligations like that."