Irish citizens: entitlement to enter or remain without leave

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 10:30 am, 26th February 2019

As I said in response to the amendments tabled by the hon. Members for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East and for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, the clause will protect the status of Irish citizens in the UK when free movement ends. Without the clause, as Professor Ryan explained in evidence to the Committee, when freedom of movement ends, Irish citizens will need to seek permission to enter the UK when they arrive from outside the common travel area. I am sure all members of the Committee agree that that would be wholly unacceptable.

In addition to the evidence from Professor Ryan, I also welcome the written evidence from the Committee on the Administration of Justice, which notes that the clause is

“designed to remedy the gap for Irish citizens being able to enter and reside in the UK from outside the CTA”.

Dr de Mars, Mr Murray, Professor O’Donoghue and Dr Warwick highlight that the clause will help to clarify and simplify travel rights under the common travel area.

The Government are clear that, as now, Irish citizens should not be subject to immigration control unless they are subject to a deportation or exclusion order, or to an international travel ban. Those exceptions are set out in the Bill, and they reflect current and long-standing practice. I confirm that our approach is to deport Irish citizens only if there are exceptional circumstances, or if a court has recommended deportation in a criminal case.