Free movement between Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand proposed post-Brexit

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Jenni Sheppard Mar 31, 2017 10:55 am 14,427

A non-profit group promoting freedom of movement between Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand is set to submit its post-Brexit plan to the UK government.

Britain officially triggered its departure from the European Union this week, with negotiations over the next two years set to determine the terms of the divorce.

CANZUK International believes the way forward for Britain is free trade and movement of people with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Chief Executive James Skinner told Daily Hive he plans submit the proposals to the UK government in the next week.

“We have already received support from multiple high-profile politicians and diplomats,” said Skinner by email. “We have also arranged meetings with senior government officials to get our proposals underway.”

According to a release, the organization’s proposals for the four “CANZUK” countries are:

  • Citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom should have the right to live, work and study in each others’ countries
  • That freedom of movement should be based on the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement between Australia and New Zealand
  • Customs and commerce restrictions should be removed through the establishment of a comprehensive multilateral free trade agreement between the CANZUK countries
  • CANZUK countries should cooperate more on intelligence, defence, and foreign policy, to help the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, NATO and the UN Security Council

The right to freedom of movement would mean all CANZUK passport holders could undertake any form of work in the other countries.

However, under CANZUK International’s plan, they would not be able to claim social welfare payments until they had spent four years in their host country.

According to CANZUK, a January 2017 poll of among 2,000 participants showed 77% of Canadians support freedom of movement with Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, they say, 64% of Brits support it, with 72% of Australians and 81% of Kiwis on board with the idea too.

Petition has more than 180,000 signatures

Canadian and British passports (Norman Chan/Shutterstock)

Canadian and British passports (Norman Chan/Shutterstock)

CANZUK International is the evolution of the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organization, founded by Skinner.

The organization launched a petition on Change.org calling for freedom of movement between the CANZUK countries, which has now been signed more than 181,275 times.

According to the CANZUK International site, Skinner has worked extensively in the Australian and British governments.

Meanwhile, he has now also been joined by Chairman John Bender and Member of the Advisory Board Sir Michael Craig-Cooper in his CANZUK quest.

According to the website, Bender is chairman of Bender & Co. Holdings Ltd, an investment office “associated with one of the founding families of a FTSE 100 publishing concern.”

Craig-Cooper served as Vice Lord Lieutenant of Greater London and has served as a board member of the National Bank of Kuwait, says the website.

Same sovereign, same language

The group is not alone in promoting the idea of freedom of movement between Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Back in January, a report by the Free Enterprise Group said Britain should take advantage of Brexit by offering freedom of movement to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The report, titled Reconnecting with the Commonwealth: the UK’s free trade opportunities, had several suggestions for visa arrangements between the four countries.

It also cited British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who have both backed free trade and movement for the two countries.

Skinner told Daily Hive that Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are economically and socially developed to function under free trade and free movement protocols.

“Canada will be part of our CANZUK negotiations as it shares numerous similarities with Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom; the same Sovereign, the same respect for democracy, the same common law legal system and the same language,” he said.


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Jenni Sheppard
Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler. Have a story to tell? Email [email protected]

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