Commonwealth Visas & Immigration debate in Parliament

We are delighted to announce that Andrew Rosindell MP and CX Advisory Board member has called a Parliamentary debate on Commonwealth immigration and visas.  It is being held in Westminster Hall on Tuesday, 27 January at 2:30pm.  This builds on our report launched last November: How to Solve a Problem like a Visa - the unhappy state of Commonwealth immigration in the UK

The report received world-wide media coverage which you can see here. The foreword was written by Boris Johnson, who highlighted the vital role that Commonwealth immigration plays in maintaining and enhancing London as the “Greatest city on Earth”.

A debate on Commonwealth immigration has not been called since 2008 and we hope that it receives attention from both sides of the House. The recommendations which we highlighted would create new opportunities for the citizens of the Commonwealth in the UK. This is supported by Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, who told our report:

“Britain’s strength has for centuries been based on its position as an open, trading nation, with strong connections across the globe.  It is deeply worrying that Britain is shutting out people from Commonwealth countries who want to come here to work”

The debate itself is open to the general public to attend and is also being streamed live online at Parliament TV and will also be uploaded the next day here. It is a fantastic opportunity to witness firsthand the innovative work which we are doing to better the lives of the people from the Commonwealth.

Our Commonwealth flag picnic

A big thank you to all those who joined us last weekend to celebrate the success of keeping the Commonwealth national flags flying. We were joined by fellow Brits and one or two Canadians and Australians as well as a number of Caribbean lagers, ales and stouts.

Earlier this month Andrew Rosindell MP, advisory board member at CX, argued the case for the Commonwealth flags to remain on Horse Guards, in Westminster for the during and in support of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.

CX has long campaigned to make sure that the flags fly more regularly and we were pleased to play a leading role in advocating this.

Here are a number of the photos we took in the glorious London sunshine. Vexillologists enjoy! 

CX Success! The Commonwealth flags will fly during the Games

CX brings welcome news that the UK Culture Department has agreed to allow the Commonwealth flags to remain along Horse Guards Road in Westminster for the duration the Commonwealth Games this year.

This is down to the work of our Advisory Board member, Andrew Rosindell MP, through his persistence and leadership. He told his local newspaper:

"I proposed this to the Secretary of State...that we should fly them in celebration of the Commonwealth Games. To take them down would be ridiculous when the Commonwealth Games are about to begin"

CX played a leading role in bringing this issue to Mr. Rosindell's attention back in April of this year.

Our campaign added to the calls that is why we owe a huge thank you to all those who signed our petition from all over the Commonwealth. We could not have achieved this without each and every signature. You should all feel proud today.

We will be hosting a picnic along Horse Guards during the Games to celebrate this shared achievement. More details will follow.

For the moment, sit back and enjoy the snaps we took of the Commonwealth Flags over at Horse Guards a few months ago.

Flying the flags: The Commonwealth in your words

Thanks to all those who have already signed our petition to fly the flags in Parliament Square during the Commonwealth Games this summer. We've had signatures from all over the world and they keep coming. If you haven't already signed, then do so here!

However, what has been really great to see is not just the signatures but the messages that have accompanied them. You can read them all on the petition page but here is a quick visual representation of what the flags, and the Commonwealth more generally, means to you:

Naturally, some of the Commonwealth institutions such as HM the Queen and the Games featured quite heavily. It's also great to see a recognition of the history and heritage of the Commonwealth, the ideas of shared values and of being a family, and support for the Commonwealth continuing to have a role in the future.

To all those who have signed and left messages: Thank you and please tell your friends to do the same!

To those who haven't: Do so here!

New Petition: Fly the Commonwealth flags on Parliament Square during the Commonwealth Games

You can sign our petition through here. Please share far and wide for maximum impact. Thank you Commonwealth supporters.

The flags of every Commonwealth nation fly on Parliament Square each year during Commonwealth Day in the UK. Commonwealth Exchange (CX) believes that the flags should fly more frequently. 

Problem: This year the flags did not fly on the Square due to a potentially avoidable event.

Solution: We want to see this rectified with the UK Government Department responsible to agree to fly the flags on the Square for the duration of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (23 July to 3 August 2014).

Thousands of Commonwealth tourists will visit the UK this summer and it would be a welcome sight to see their flags against the backdrop of the Mother of All Parliaments.

Andrew Rosindell MP has been a strong advocate through his chairmanship of the All Party Group (APPG) on Flags and Heraldry as well as his membership of the APPG on the Commonwealth. He has asked numerous questions to the Government about the Commonwealth flags herehere, and here.

How you can help: I urge people from all over the Commonwealth to sign this petition in order to show the UK Government that the Commonwealth matters to a great many people and this can be readily identified through the flying of national flags. It is visual, emotive, and offers a great sense of shared identity as equals.

This is a worthwhile and noble goal. With your help we look forward to the Commonwealth national flags flying on Parliament Square during the Games.

Thank you.

The Commonwealth Exchange team.