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Kiwi OE not the target of UK review

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/10/2016
City of London skyline © Getty Images City of London skyline

Britain's review of its immigration regime isn't likely to have much impact on Kiwis going over for their OEs, a senior diplomat says.

John Watson, first secretary at the British High Commission in Wellington, says the priority is control of net migration - people moving to Britain to live there permanently.

"Our latest data is that about 165,000 New Zealanders come to the UK each year, 97 per cent don't need a visa to stay less than six months," he told RNZ.

"The impact on the vast majority of people will be low."

Mr Watson says the review, announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd at the weekend, is still in its early stages.

"New Zealand has one of the most preferential access regimes of all our partners around the world," Mr Watson said.

"Over the last couple of years we have made it easier for New Zealanders to travel to the UK."

He says there will be a consultation process before any decisions are made.

"All our friends and partners around the world, such as New Zealand, will be part of it."

Ms Rudd's announcement prompted ACT leader David Seymour to suggest a bilateral agreement with Britain.

"It's a chance to propose a free movement zone similar to what we have with Australia," he said on Wednesday.

"In the long term we could even negotiate a broader zone for citizens of Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada - CANZUK."

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