UK VISA

BREXIT: The impact on Irish and British relations

The Irish government has reported that they have received an increase in Brits applying for Irish passports. Presumably, Brits are clinging to any Irish heritage they can find to be eligible to apply for Irish passports. This obviously has been influenced by the UK "Brexit" referendum, when the British public voted to exit the EU. Brits applying for Irish passports are motivated by a desire to "safeguard" their Treaty Rights, once the UK has left the EU i.e. to make life easier for them when travelling, working and residing in other EEA member states. This must be bringing in a lot of revenue for the Irish government, however they are also understandingly overwhelmed!
UK visa – Dover
Another consideration would be whether EEA nationals in other member states outside of the UK are applying for Irish passports too. Ireland and the UK have a number of agreements that enable freedom of movement between them. Is this increase of Irish passport applications more to do with Brits protecting themselves in the EU or to do with people in other parts of the EEA, trying to open doors for themselves to come to the UK? Could an Italian national with an Irish parent, for example, gain residence in the UK with the use of their Irish passport?
Another consideration would be whether EEA nationals in other member states outside of the UK are applying for Irish passports too. Ireland and the UK have a number of agreements that enable freedom of movement between them. Is this increase of Irish passport applications more to do with Brits protecting themselves in the EU or to do with people in other parts of the EEA, trying to open doors for themselves to come to the UK? Could an Italian national with an Irish parent, for example, gain residence in the UK with the use of their Irish passport?
There are many complications involved with the UK leaving the EU, whilst also keeping its special and privileged relationship with Ireland. These complications will be dealt with below.
There are many complications involved with the UK leaving the EU, whilst also keeping its special and privileged relationship with Ireland. These complications will be dealt with below.
Ireland Act 1949

The Ireland Act 1949 was UK legislation that confirmed that the newly formed Republic of Ireland had ceased to be a British dominion. However, the even though the Republic of Ireland was no longer a British dominion, it would not be treated as a foreign country for the purposes of British law. Specifically, Irish nationals are still treated as "settled" in the UK from the moment they arrive and to naturalise as British, they need to just complete 5 years of residence in the UK.
Ireland Act 1949

The Ireland Act 1949 was UK legislation that confirmed that the newly formed Republic of Ireland had ceased to be a British dominion. However, the even though the Republic of Ireland was no longer a British dominion, it would not be treated as a foreign country for the purposes of British law. Specifically, Irish nationals are still treated as "settled" in the UK from the moment they arrive and to naturalise as British, they need to just complete 5 years of residence in the UK.
This is a favourable position for Irish people living in the UK. This legislation was introduced prior to the EU, therefore, it is unlikely to change. It will mean that anyone born in Ireland or who naturalises as Irish is automatically settled in the UK also.
This is a favourable position for Irish people living in the UK. This legislation was introduced prior to the EU, therefore, it is unlikely to change. It will mean that anyone born in Ireland or who naturalises as Irish is automatically settled in the UK also.
The question would be whether this would make Ireland a more attractive location for EEA nationals wishing to find a way to settle in the UK.
The question would be whether this would make Ireland a more attractive location for EEA nationals wishing to find a way to settle in the UK.
A final point is that whilst we presume the Ireland Act will remain untouched, this cannot be taken for granted. Should this be revoked, there will be Irish nationals living in the UK who will not only be in limbo but will become like any other EEA national and will lose their special status in the UK. This would be a small tragedy for Irish and British friendship.
A final point is that whilst we presume the Ireland Act will remain untouched, this cannot be taken for granted. Should this be revoked, there will be Irish nationals living in the UK who will not only be in limbo but will become like any other EEA national and will lose their special status in the UK. This would be a small tragedy for Irish and British friendship.
Common Travel Area

The Common Travel Area is an open borders area comprising the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands and was established in 1923.
Common Travel Area

The Common Travel Area is an open borders area comprising the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands and was established in 1923.
The internal borders of the Common Travel Area are subject to minimal controls if at all. The Irish government carries out systematic identity checks on air passengers coming from the United Kingdom but only selective checks on sea passengers, and occasional checks on land crossings.
The internal borders of the Common Travel Area are subject to minimal controls if at all. The Irish government carries out systematic identity checks on air passengers coming from the United Kingdom but only selective checks on sea passengers, and occasional checks on land crossings.
This will be a challenge for the British once they leave the EU. Not only will there be, essentially, an open border between the UK and Ireland, but there will also be free movement of people between Ireland and the EU. One of the motivations for most Brits who voted to leave the EU was an end to free movement.
This will be a challenge for the British once they leave the EU. Not only will there be, essentially, an open border between the UK and Ireland, but there will also be free movement of people between Ireland and the EU. One of the motivations for most Brits who voted to leave the EU was an end to free movement.
As the borders are currently so relaxed within the Common Travel Area, it would currently be very easy for an EEA migrant to travel into Ireland under the free movement and then to the UK, which currently is fine but after free movement ends would be a problem. Of course, the system would be easily solved by just introducing stricter border checks between Ireland and the rest of the UK. However, this would be taking a huge step back between Irish and British relations, considering the years of peace process and more importantly, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland currently share a basically open land border. This brings me to my next point.
As the borders are currently so relaxed within the Common Travel Area, it would currently be very easy for an EEA migrant to travel into Ireland under the free movement and then to the UK, which currently is fine but after free movement ends would be a problem. Of course, the system would be easily solved by just introducing stricter border checks between Ireland and the rest of the UK. However, this would be taking a huge step back between Irish and British relations, considering the years of peace process and more importantly, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland currently share a basically open land border. This brings me to my next point.
Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland divide

After years of peace negotiations, followed by years of peace, the divide between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland is likely to become a hot topic again. Northern Ireland voted in favour of remaining in the EU.
Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland divide

After years of peace negotiations, followed by years of peace, the divide between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland is likely to become a hot topic again. Northern Ireland voted in favour of remaining in the EU.
Thus, the Brexit negotiations come with a huge risk of deterioration between UK and Irish relations. They may stir up nationalistic views in Northern Ireland of people wishing to become a part of the Republic of Ireland, with the desire to remain in the EU. Further, once the UK leaves the EU, a tougher border will need to be put in place between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Thus, the Brexit negotiations come with a huge risk of deterioration between UK and Irish relations. They may stir up nationalistic views in Northern Ireland of people wishing to become a part of the Republic of Ireland, with the desire to remain in the EU. Further, once the UK leaves the EU, a tougher border will need to be put in place between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Aside from the concerns that more people would try to acquire Irish passports to try and settle in the UK, Brexit negotiations pose more serious challenges between UK and Irish relations, following an already volatile history.
Aside from the concerns that more people would try to acquire Irish passports to try and settle in the UK, Brexit negotiations pose more serious challenges between UK and Irish relations, following an already volatile history.
Sassa Karakatsianis, Immigration Specialist
Sassa Karakatsianis, Immigration Specialist
For information on visiting the UK and getting a UK visa, contact our visa experts today.
For information on visiting the UK and getting a UK visa, contact our visa experts today.