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Irish and British governments to sign deal to continue reciprocal rights of Common Travel Area

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Representatives of the Irish and British governments are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding today (8 May 2019) about continuing the Common Travel Area (CTA) in all Brexit scenarios, including a no–deal exit

This agreement will put the rights enjoyed by citizens of both countries on a more secure footing.

The CTA ensures freedom of movement for Irish and British citizens between both countries, as well as access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits and the right to vote in certain elections. Irish citizens can vote in all UK elections.

Agreements have already been reached with existing arrangements on social insurance, child benefit and pensions. Talks are ongoing to continue arrangements in public health and education services.

The CTA was established in 1923. It predates both countries’ membership of the European Union and is not dependent on it.

The UK’s referendum in 2016 sparked some uncertainty however, as for the first time one country would be in the EU, while the other would not. Irish and British diplomats have spent over two years ensuring that the CTA is maintained even in a no–deal exit.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website states that “both Governments have committed to undertaking all the work necessary, including through legislative provision, to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected.”

Due to the continuation of the CTA, Irish citizens have been advised that they do not need to apply for Settled Status in the UK, although the option is available to them.

Irish in Britain welcomes the Memorandum of Understanding which will guarantee that Irish citizens in Britain, as well as British citizens in Ireland, continue to enjoy their rights and privileges.

The UK government produced posters for use in centres used by the Irish community in Britain that spell out the rights enshrined in the CTA, they are available here.