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British-Irish Co-operation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 25 January 2022

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Ceisteanna (338)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

338. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had recent contact with his British counterpart regarding the UK Nationality and Borders Bill 2021 which will impact on free movement in this country for persons without Irish or British citizenship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3103/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

We are closely monitoring the UK’s Nationality and Borders Bill as it progresses through the legislative process in the British Parliament. The Bill was passed in the House of Commons and is now in the House of Lords, with Committee stage due to commence on 27 January.As noted previously, this Bill as currently drafted would provide that the UK’s immigration rules may require that specified categories of individual, to be set down in the rules, have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) in order to travel to the UK. This may include journeys across the land border on the island of Ireland. It is understood that, while the Bill provides that such a requirement may be introduced, any such requirement would be introduced by way of future amendments to the UK’s immigration rules. In addition, the said Bill provides that the proposed ETA system will not apply to Irish or British citizens and the British Government has made clear that there will continue to be no immigration checks on the land border. The British Government has stated that the requirement will be in place by the end of 2024, although this timeframe could be subject to change.Senior officials in my Department are engaging with the British Government regarding our concerns on the proposed requirement. As the Deputy is aware, the movement of people on the island – the way lives are lived and business is conducted, particularly in areas contiguous to the land border – is uniquely fluid and dynamic. Tens of thousands of people – including many non-Irish and non-British nationals living here – cross the land border every day as they go about their lives – for business, visiting friends and family, studying, shopping, and socialising. It is a uniquely shared space. There are also important considerations to be taken into account in terms of integrated supply chains and for North-South cooperation in areas such as tourism, health, and education, among others, should this proposed legislation impact on any cross-border movements for non-Irish and non-British nationals. Further details on the proposed UK ETA scheme will emerge as the legislative process progresses and when new immigration rules are adopted. The Bill remains under consideration within the British Parliament. For our part, the Government will continue to engage with the British Government to ensure that our concerns are clearly understood.

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