London, Feb.22 : Britain is proposing to sever its historic ties to tens of thousands of Commonwealth nationals who have an automatic right through descent to live and work here. According to The Telegraph, the small print of this week's Home Office green paper charting new pathways to citizenship suggests the ancestry visa might be abolished.
The visa enables people aged 17 or over whose grandparents were born in the UK to come for four years and eventually apply to stay.
Mainly young Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans coming to Britain to work and as a base to explore Europe use it.
The ancestry provisions were introduced in 1972 after legislation the previous year overhauled Commonwealth citizenship rights. Those entering under the UK ancestry route have free access to the labour market on entry.
However, the Government is in the process of introducing a points-based system for work permits and tougher rules for obtaining citizenship.
In 2006, around 8,500 ancestry visa holders came to the UK and around 20,000 Commonwealth citizens have applied for settlement since 2002.