1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?
Yes, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has issued guidance on Preparing for Brexit, which includes information on the Common Travel Area that applies to British and Irish citizens.
Ireland has a unique relationship with the UK whereby the Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and the UK (including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man) has existed since 1922, with its modern inception coming into force in 1952. The CTA is not reliant on membership of the European Union. It is based on legislation and bilateral agreements between Ireland and the UK. Therefore, if an Irish or British citizen is living or working in a part of the CTA, they will not be required to take any action to protect their status or rights associated with the CTA.
In response to Brexit, the Irish legislature enacted the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 (‘the Act’). The operation of the Act is entirely contingent on the event of Brexit occurring. It is primarily designed to reduce the possibility of serious disturbance in the Irish economy in the event of Brexit (whether under a withdrawal agreement or not). As part of the Act there is provision to maintain the integrity and operation of the CTA and to ensure that the CTA rights continue.
Therefore, Irish citizens and British citizens will continue to have the same reciprocal rights associated with the CTA which include the right to work, study and vote, access to social welfare benefits and health services. Irish and British citizens will be able to continue to travel freely within the CTA without seeking immigration permission from the authorities. Regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations there is unlikely to be any change to the Irish or UK approach to immigration and travel that falls within the CTA rules. Consequently, British citizens will
not be required to seek immigration permission from the Irish immigration authorities to travel to Ireland and there will be no routine immigration controls on journeys within the CTA.
However, non-British citizens, arriving in Ireland from the UK will need to ensure that they follow Ireland entry clearance requirements and standard Non-EEA citizen rules will continue to apply to entry to Ireland.
2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?
Not if they are British citizens
At the time of writing, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will not affect the right of British citizens to travel and work within the CTA. Regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, the associated rights and entitlements attaching to the CTA are expected to be protected by the Act. The associated rights and entitlements include the right to work within the CTA without being subject to a requirement to obtain permission.
If they are non-EEA employees (who are not British citizens) they are likely to require a business visa to travel to Ireland.
2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border once UK citizens are considered third-country nationals?
This will depend on the nationality of the person travelling.
3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work?
At the time of writing, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will not affect the right of British citizens to work within the CTA. Regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, the associated rights and entitlements attaching to the CTA are still likely to be protected by the Act. The associated rights and entitlements include the right to work without being subject to a requirement to obtain permission.
3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?
It is unclear what impact the UK becoming a third country will have on current quotas applied to the Irish employment permit scheme.
Currently an employment permit will not be issued unless at the time of application at least 50% of the employees in the employer organisation are EEA nationals. This rule is waived in limited circumstances.
3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?
3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?
3.5 If permission to work or stay is needed, how long does the procedure take?
3.6 If permission to work or stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for this permission?
4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?
British citizens are not required to obtain permanent residence in Ireland. At the time of writing this arrangement is to continue after Brexit.
Under the CTA, UK and Irish nationals enjoy a range of reciprocal rights, which include the right to enter and reside in each other’s state without being subject to a requirement to obtain permission.
EEA nationals and their families have a right to apply for permanent residence once they have a five-year uninterrupted period of residence in Ireland.
5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?
As above, under the CTA, UK and Irish nationals enjoy a range of reciprocal rights, which includes the right to enter and reside in each other’s state without being subject to a requirement to obtain permission. British citizens should continue to monitor any developments in respect of the CTA.