The British Embassy in Dublin has responded to concerns of Irish people in the UK about possible restrictions on their free movement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Queen’s Speech said his Immigration Bill, which will end EU citizens’ freedom of movement, would ‘generally not require’ Irish citizens to apply for leave to enter or stay.
The preamble to the new Immigration Bill said Irish citizens “will GENERALLY not require leave to enter or remain in the UK once freedom of movement comes to an end.”
The rights of Irish citizens in the UK are not protected by any formal legislation but by an understanding between the two countries. Irish in the UK had reason to be concerned by the use of the word ‘generally’.
The British Embassy in Dublin by tweeted on Tuesday: “We have seen some questions about the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, as announced in HM The Queen’s speech yesterday.
“To clarify, there has been no change to what we intend the Bill to do: protect the long-standing status of Irish citizens in the UK when free movement ends, and enshrine their rights in UK law.
“Restrictions will continue to apply only to anyone subject to a deportation order, exclusion order or international travel ban.”
On Monday, Boris Johnson’s government’s Queen’s Speech outlined forthcoming legislation that hinted at legal restrictions on Irish citizens despite the Common Travel Area Memorandum of Understanding agreed by Dublin and London earlier this year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is mobilising for a general election on an anti-immigration platform among other issues and said the new rules would be a “fair, modern and global immigration system”
The new Immigration Bill will see EU citizens who arrive in the UK after January 2021 subject to the same controls as those from the rest of the world.
Johnson’s government say this will enable a “single global immigration system based on people’s skills”.