The Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 – the ‘Brexit Omnibus Act’, signed into law by the President on 17 March, focuses on protecting Irish citizens, assisting businesses and jobs, and securing ongoing access to essential services and products. It consists of fifteen Parts relating to matters within the remits of nine Ministers. The Parts of this legislation are ready to be commenced as needed.
Part 13 and 14 of the Act relates to areas under the remit of my Department. Part 13 deals with Extradition and will ensure that workable arrangements are in place to extradite individuals, including own nationals, to the UK once they become a third country.
Part 14 of the Act confirms that immigration officers have the power to undertake a refoulement consideration and provides a legal basis for taking fingerprints of Irish visa and Irish transit visa applicants, to enable the continuance of the British Irish Visa Scheme, pursuant to Common Travel Area arrangements. Part 14 was commenced earlier this month.
In addition, following the recent divorce referendum, I published the Family Law Bill 2019. The Bill will include provisions to ensure, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, that the recognition in Ireland of divorces granted in the UK after EU legislation in this area came into operation on 1 March 2001, will continue to be on the basis of habitual residence, rather than the domicile requirement provided for in the Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act 1986 which applies to divorces granted in non-EU states.
New secondary legislation is being drafted to deal with a number of issues, including designating the UK as a safe third country for immigration purposes; recognition of solicitor qualifications; regulations to enable UK citizens to join the Gardaí and the Garda reserves. Furthermore, work is ongoing on the preparation of a regulation to facilitate implementation of the Hague Maintenance Convention.