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Australia issues Brexit warning over future trade deals with Britain

One of Australia’s biggest exports is sheep and wool (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Australia has warned Britain the issue of visas will weigh heavily on the success or failure of trade deal talks.

It says any moves to make it more difficult for Australians to come to work and live in the UK after Brexit would be seen as a roadblock to negotiations.

A report by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra: “Given the strong people-to-people links between Australia and the UK and the significant contribution made by Australian workers to UK’s economic growth, we would be disappointed and concerned by more restrictive conditions for Australian workers and visa holders.”

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The report also highlights a statement by Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, stating that Australia should not expect any “special treatment” on immigration.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, is in the country this week as part of Theresa May’s mission to take Britain’s ‘open for business’ message around the globe.

India is another country with long links to the UK that is pushing for a more relaxed visa system post-Brexit.

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However, while informal talks can be undertaken between UK officials and foreign powers, nothing concrete can begin until Britain officially leaves the EU in early 2019.

Immigration levels are running at almost 250,000 – and successive Tory governments have pledged to get that figure down below 100,000.

One of the major sticking points over the ongoing Brexit talks is the future rights of EU citizens living and working in the UK.

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The Australian report further raises the issue of pension provisions for the 250,000 expat Brits living in Australia.

Currently, the pension they receive is not linked to UK inflation – meaning that Australia makes up the difference, about A$200m a year.