Brexit: Latest news for skilled professionals

An update on Brexit and the implications for skilled professionals

The European Commission has advised the leaders of the 27 EU member states to proceed with the second phase of Brexit negotiations. That doesn’t mean that a final solution has been achieved on issues of citizen’s rights, the Irish border and the UK’s financial settlement, but it is considered that there is enough common understanding between the EU27 and the British government to continue to the next phase of negotiations.


The next phase is likely to see similar issues; time pressures, a well-choreographed approach from the EU leadership and a weak British government gradually converging with the European position.

Indeed, Donald Tusk, European Council president, warns that the next phase of negotiations is “The most difficult challenge ahead”, The EU27’s unity will now be tested, as national preferences are likely to become more obvious in the next phase. But, as has been the case so far, the pressure – from various conflicting interests – will very much remain on the UK government.

The Brexit effect – are professionals questioning their future in the UK?

Earlier this year, a KPMG survey found that an alarmingly high number of highly qualified professionals are planning to leave the UK because of Brexit. Indeed, almost a million EU citizens working in Britain – many of them young, qualified and much sought-after by businesses – are either planning to leave the country or have already made up their minds to go as a result of Brexit.

The survey of 2,000 EU workers in Britain found that 55% of those with PhDs and 49% of those with postgraduate degrees were either planning to go or were actively considering it.

These findings reinforce fears of a substantial brain drain in the UK. KPMG describes those most likely to leave as “the independent, in-demand, educated and young”. Despite the UK government attempting to reassure EU citizens about their future in the UK, with what it described as a “big and generous” offer, professionals in demand remain keen to leave.

Brexit and the health sector – is it time to escape ‘down under’ for UK doctors and healthcare specialists?

Since the UK referendum’s decision to leave the European Union, Brexit has led to uncertainty about the future and concerns over the ways in which the loss of staff will intensify the already existing recruitment issues within the NHS.

Since the Brexit vote, 10,000 EU health workers have quit the NHS. Furthermore, The British Medical Association found that 12,000 doctors (nearly 7.7% of the medical workforce) are from the EEA and 18% of them have made plans to leave, with a further 25% unsure what to do since the referendum. When questioned, the most prevalent reasons for leaving appeared to be the potential changes to immigration rules, as well as the hostile behaviour and attitudes towards EU nationals.

Many healthcare professionals are finding their professional ambitions thwarted by a system divided by politics. With such a crisis in the NHS, many doctors and nursing staff are considering the huge benefits of migration to Australia. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s best places to live in terms of income, political stability, healthcare and civil rights, the Australian healthcare system itself is ranked as one of the world’s best. Combined with beautiful beaches, stunning scenery and cosmopolitan cities, there are many advantages to a life ‘down under’.

A move to Australasia not only offers a an exceptional lifestyle, but given the healthcare skills shortage in Australia, there are a great many career opportunities, and less competition for training programmes. Indeed, working conditions in Australia are considered to be the best in the world – doctors are set to receive six weeks annual leave and work an average of fewer than 42 hours per week.

What next?

With the much publicised crises in the NHS and the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, there is certainly much to be gained from exploring your career options outside the UK. If, like many, you are considering the benefits of a move to Australia, Ark Migration can help. As a team of experienced visa specialists, we are adept at supporting successful visa applications from professionals, across a range of sectors.

To discuss your migration plans in greater detail, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email

SSM and Marriage Visa Applications

Australia’s Marriage Act  - same sex marriage and it’s impact on visas applications

Following Australia’s recent parliamentary approval of same sex marriage, amendments to the Marriage Act are now underway. With an overwhelming majority of MPs voting to change the Marriage Act, eight days after a similarly decisive result in the Senate, this result brings an end to more than a decade of robust and often controversial debate on the issue. Here we explore the likely migration consequences for same-sex couples when Australia's Marriage Act is duly updated.
Partner Visas - Legal Marriage

Under existing Australian law, same-sex marriages are not currently recognised and as such it has not been possible to apply for a partner visa on the basis of same sex marriage. With recent parliamentary approval however, it reads that same sex marriages should be eligible to form the basis of a partner visa application.

Partner Visas - 12 Month De Facto Relationships and Relationship Registration

Since we are as yet unsure when amendments to the Marriage Act will come into force, it maybe useful for same-sex couples to consider the 12 Month De Facto Relationships and Relationship Registration. This registration allows same sex couples to apply for partner visas on the basis of a de facto relationship. The requirements here are for couples to provide evidence that they have cohabited for a period of 12 months, in order to qualify for a partner visa.

One of the main exemptions to the 12-month cohabitation requirement for de facto partner visas is where your relationship has been registered by an Australian State or Territory Government. In this case, you can qualify for a partner visa if you can show that you are living together, but don't need to show that you have lived together for a 12-month period.

However, not all states and territories support registration of relationships, or require both parties to be resident in the state or territory. For the purposes of immigration, registered relationships are only recognised in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, NSW, and the ACT.

Prospective Marriage Visa Applicants

The Prospective Marriage Subclass 300 or Fiancé(e) Visa can be a good option for many applicants. This relates to situations where a couple has an intention to get married in Australia, but are not cohabiting. This option can be beneficial in circumstances where it is not possible for a couple to live together due to immigration or cultural issues. While many overseas countries do not recognise same-sex couples for visa purposes, with recent changes to Australia’s Marriage Act, same sex couples should now be eligible to make an application for the Prospective Marriage Subclass 300 or Fiancé(e) Visa.

An additional visa subclass should also now be open to same sex couples; the Subclass 309 Offshore Partner Visa. This visa always applicants to apply on the basis of a marriage which is planned to take place in the future. Since amendments to the Marriage Act are now underway, this pathway should also be open to same-sex couples.

Including Family Members as Dependents

Given that same-sex marriages are now recognised, this will make it easier to include partners in visa applications. Previously, you could only include a same-sex partner if you could establish that you were in a de facto relationship. For permanent visas, you would generally have needed to show that you had lived together for 12 months to establish a de facto relationship. This also applied to certain temporary visas such as student visas, provisional skilled and business migration visas. However, with amendments to the Marriage Act underway, it should be possible to include family members as dependents.


Whilst we do not yet know how or when the changes to the Marriage Act will be implemented, one thing is clear, marriage equality in Australia is here. To discuss how changes to the Marriage Act may affect your visa application, contact Michael Leonard, CEO and Founder of Ark Migration on +44 7904 666 124 or email