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 Government of Ireland and the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances. Through the Memorandum of Understanding, both Governments committed to undertaking all the work necessary, including through legislative provision, to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected.
Accordingly, 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.
The CTA has also been recognised in Brexit negotiations and there is agreement under Article 3 of the Protocol on Northern Ireland and Ireland that the UK and Ireland ‘may continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories’. It further states that the UK shall ensure that the CTA and the rights and privileges associated with it can continue to apply without affecting the obligations of Ireland under Union law.
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.