The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a long-standing arrangement between Ireland and the UK which means Irish citizens can move freely to live, work, and study in the UK on the same basis as UK citizens, and vice versa. Both the Irish and British Governments have committed to the maintenance of the CTA and the associated rights and entitlements of Irish and British citizens under this longstanding reciprocal arrangement in any circumstance.
I updated the Government on the CTA at its meeting on 15 January. Considerable progress has been achieved bilaterally with the UK over the past year involving several Departments in what has been a whole-of-Government exercise.
Ireland’s aim throughout has been to ensure that the necessary arrangements are made in both countries so that the CTA can function effectively after the UK leaves the EU. The bilateral work undertaken reaffirms the existing CTA arrangements between Ireland the UK and recognises the shared commitment of both to protect the associated reciprocal rights and privileges as a legitimate and fundamental public policy.
Both the Irish and British Governments have confirmed that neither Irish citizens in the UK nor British citizens in Ireland are required to take any action to protect their status and rights associated with the CTA. After the UK leaves the EU, both Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in Ireland will continue to enjoy these rights.
As part of our Brexit Contingency Action Plan, the Government published on 24 January last the general scheme of proposed primary legislative measures required in the event of a no deal Brexit. Protecting and maintaining the Common Travel Area and the associated rights and privileges is a key part of our planning and preparations. This is vital in the context of the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Ireland Peace Process, as well as broader Ireland-UK relations. Both the Irish and British Governments have committed to undertaking all the work necessary, including through legislative provision to ensure that the Common Travel Area rights and privileges are protected.
Bilateral arrangements as appropriate to each area of the CTA, will be concluded in due course and at the appropriate time.