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Brexit’s Impact on Irish Immigration

10 February 2021

The Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2020 (the Act) was enacted in Ireland on 10 December 2020. This has provided a number of clarifications for employers, UK employees and their non-EEA family members in Ireland and their rights post-Brexit.

Common Travel Area

The Act amends the Immigration Act 2004 to the effect that a citizen of the UK does not come within the definition of a ‘non-national’. This revised definition confirms that the legal basis for the exemption of UK citizens from passport checks within the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK continues to apply.

In addition, under the Common Travel Area agreement, Irish and UK citizens continue to enjoy the right to reside and access employment in either country.

This essentially means that UK citizens do not need to take any action to protect their right to live and work in Ireland. 

Non EU/EEA nationals living in Ireland as family members of UK citizens

EU Treaty Rights permission is no longer available to non-EEA family members of UK citizens. All non-EEA family members of UK nationals seeking to join their UK national family member in Ireland will need to apply through a preclearance or visa scheme from outside the State. This has been the case since 31 December 2020.

This new Preclearance Scheme only applies when a UK national has come to live in Ireland after 31 December 2020. If a UK national is living in Ireland on or before this date, they and their eligible non-EEA family members will be a beneficiary under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Under the new Preclearance Scheme, all applications must be made from outside of Ireland and applicants must remain outside the State while their application is being processed.

Visa required nationals will only have to make a visa application under the relevant visa scheme, whereas non visa required nationals will need to apply for preclearance.

50:50 rule for employment permits  

In Ireland, employment permits will generally not issue unless at the time of application at least 50 per cent of the employees in the company are EEA nationals.

The Act provides for an amendment to the Employment Permit Acts 2006. The amendment facilitates the continued inclusion of UK citizens, including citizens from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, in the EEA employee count for the purposes of the 50:50 rule.

Conclusion

Irish Employers, UK employees and their non-EEA family members should be aware that although there is no change on the rights of UK citizens to live and work in Ireland, there are new requirements for non-EEA family members of UK citizens coming to live in Ireland post 31 December 2020.

For further information on how to navigate the current system in as swift and seamless a manner as possible, please reach out to a member of our Business Immigration team at mhcbusinessimmigration@mhc.ie


The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

Discuss your related queries with Ger Connolly now.


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