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

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that he just lost a division on that matter, but I am sure we will return to it on Report. He may consider his drafting to be better than that of my Home Office officials, but I must take a contrary view. I confirmed the Government’s approach in response to questions raised on Second Reading, and, as members of the Committee will have noted, once we leave the EU, Irish citizens will be exempt from the automatic deportation provisions for criminality in the UK Borders Act 2007.

The clause amends section 9 of the Immigration Act 1971 so that restrictions placed on those who enter the UK from the CTA by order under that section will not apply to Irish citizens. It also amends schedule 4 to that Act, which deals with the integration of UK law and the immigration law of the islands—Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The schedule provides broadly that leave granted or refused in the islands has the same effect as leave granted or refused in the UK. The clause disapplies those provisions in relation to Irish citizens who do not require such leave under the Bill. They also make it lawful for an Irish citizen—unless they are subject to a deportation or exclusion order—to enter the UK from the islands, regardless of their status in them.

The clause aims to support the wider reciprocal rights enjoyed by British and Irish citizens in the other state. Citizens will continue to work, study, access healthcare and social security benefits, and vote in certain elections when they are in the other state. I reiterate that once free movement ends, Irish citizens in the UK will be able to bring family members to the UK on the same basis as British citizens, because they are considered to be settled from day one of their arrival in the UK.