Britain's new Foreign Secretary and Trade Minister back CX recommendations

The UK's new Prime Minister is in the process of appointing her first Cabinet. There is already good news for CX and Commonwealth supporters, most notably in the appointments of Boris Johnson and Liam Fox.

Both are friends to Commonwealth Exchange and have written forewords to our reports. Here are key excerpts:

"It seems that almost all parts of the Commonwealth are brimming with a new energy and optimism, at precisely the time that the European Union is struggling. As we reconsider Britain’s place in the world, I want us to reconsider how we engage with Commonwealth peoples...

"...The UK has bonds of history, language, law, family and customs across the world and we would be foolish not to make more of these at this time of profound global economic revival."

- Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in his foreword to our report "How to Solve a Problem like a Visa"

"It may just be that the Commonwealth could be coming of age in the right way at the right time. It is a time to be bold."

 - Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, in his foreword to our report "The Commonwealth's Call to Duty"

Following the UK's vote to leave the EU, it is vital that the Commmonwealth is at the heart of our plans for trade, migration, security, and more. Find our full Brexit plan here.

Media wishing to arrange interviews or request a comment should email or call the media mobile listed here.

Uptick in Commonwealth migration is welcome but there is still a long way to go

Figures released this morning show a small increase in Commonwealth migration but as the below chart shows, there is still a long way to go to reach levels seen just a few years ago.

Additionally, we are still seeing the Commonwealth declining as a percentage of the UK's immigration. As can be seen below, Commonwealth citizens are being squeezed out of the UK's immigrant picture.

It's time for the UK Government to start offering a fair and level playing field to the Commonwealth. Implementing the recommendations of our "How to Solve a Problem Like a Visa" report would be a great start.

All figures are sourced from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

CX is available for comment and interviews. Details of how to get in touch are here.

CX is putting the Commonwealth on the agenda

Part of our mission at CX is reminding the UK of its Commonwealth opportunities and potential as well as ensuring that the Commonwealth is at the heart of public debate and political discussion.

In the last few days we've been doing just that, publishing a number of articles on a variety of topics and platforms. Here are a few of our recent pieces:

Telegraph: Commonwealth citizens could swing the EU referendum

Our Chairman Lord Howell and our Executive Director Tim Hewish have written for the Daily Telegraph pointing out that Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK will be able to vote in the upcoming EU referendum.

They could represent a swing of up to 6%, more than enough to change the outcome. Both sides of the debate would be foolish to ignore these crucial potential voters.

Read the full piece here.

ConHome: The Government is wrong. We need more students from the Commonwealth to stay and work in Britain.

Our Director Ralph Buckle wrote for the ConservativeHome website attacking government proposals further cracking down on international students wishing to work in the UK.

He concludes: "even the suggestion of [these proposals] is damaging Britain in myriad ways. If they are implemented, it could take decades for us to recover."

Read it here.

The Commentator: UK could do a lot worse than becoming “an Atlantic Singapore”

Ralph also wrote for The Commentator at the weekend. He rebutted an article which was critical of Singapore and instead said that the UK could learn a lot from the city state.

He argued that "Singapore is easily one of the most open nations on the planet, and one of the least corrupt... In or out of the EU, Britain could certainly do with a dose of Singapore’s entrepreneurial zeal."

You can find the article here.

ConWayForward: Six reasons to support free trade with the Commonwealth

Completing a hat-trick of articles, Ralph also penned a piece for Conservative Way Forward's blog.

He set out six reasons why the Commonwealth should be our first port of call for increasing and liberalising trade.

See if you agree here.

Sarawak report launch - Lessons from the Commonwealth

We were delighted to launch the first in our Lessons of the Commonwealth series - Sarawak: A Malaysian Economic Story along with its author, Keith Boyfield.

During the evening Keith gave an interesting and balanced speech drawing from his experience gained through his two trips to Sarawak.

The Lessons seek to highlight the successes, the challenges, and what solutions can be exported to other Commonwealth nations to further promote prosperity, democracy, stability, the rule of law and the other myriad of values of our modern Commonwealth.

We were also honoured to have Dr Erik Jensen Former UN Under-Secretary-General and author of Where Hornbills Fly write the foreword to the report where he said:

"Sarawak is, like any country, unique, but the challenges faced following independence, the scope generated by the exploration of fossil fuels, the interdiction of commercial scale crops, problems of corruption, land rights and labour, are all familiar elsewhere. Commonwealth states in Africa and the Caribbean may find relevant the Sarawak experience."

You can download a copy of our report here or click the image across.

Worrying moves by UK government on post study visas

While CX was in Canada, it was announced that the UK government is planning to send non-EU students home after they have completed their studies rather than giving them the opportunity to find work and apply for a new visa while they're here.

CX is obviously strongly opposed to this move and continues to support the reinstatement of the Tier 1 Post-Study Work Visa as proposed in our report "How to Solve a Problem like a Visa." In addition we call for Commonwealth countries to be restored to the Youth Mobility Visa.

What is particularly worrying about this new announcement is that the number of non-EU students is already falling dramatically. The numbers who arrived in the year ending December 2014, was down 25% compared to just four years previously.

Even more worrying is that a large percentage of this fall is due to a reduction in Commonwealth students coming to study in the UK. This number has fallen by nearly 60% in the same period, the lowest year end figure since 2005.

By way of comparison, EU citizens coming to the UK to study has actually seen a small increase since 2010, going up by 3,000.

The UK needs an influx of young, talented, and bright workers and what better place to find them than among the graduates of the UK's world-beating universities?

The point was made well by James Dyson who responded to the proposals here.

However we would (as you might expect) suggest that the Commonwealth should be top of the list for finding potential workers.

The extensive speaking of English across much of the Commonwealth, the use of similar (and often identical) legal and accounting practices, and the cultural ties we share, provide several obvious advantages but one that is often overlooked is the extremely youthful population.

60% of the 2.3 billion population of the Commonwealth are under 30 years of age. In fact one in twelve people alive right now is an Indian aged under 27.

Compare this to England and the figure is almost exactly reversed. 63% of our population is over 30 years of age. Our median age is now 40 years old and is expected to rise continuously for at least the next 20 years.

Commenting on this, CX Director Ralph Buckle said:

"Britain is facing a dangerously ageing population with a spiraling effect on national debt as the burden on state pensions and the NHS only increases.

We need to be seeking out young bright graduates to work here, not driving them away. The Commonwealth would be the perfect place to start.

Contrary to what is often claimed, it looks like British pensioners will be the ones stretching the welfare state in the future, not migrant workers."

All figures are sourced from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

CX is available for comment and interviews. Details of how to get in touch are here.