No matter the outcome of Brexit, Ireland and the UK will remain open to citizens of either country, ensuring anyone investing in Ireland will have access to the UK and Europe. Ireland is the only country to be able to do this and reinforces why Ireland is good for investment, good for business and good for your future.
The Republic of Ireland achieved independence from Britain in 1922. However, the agreement included the provision that six counties in the North of Ireland remain a part of the United Kingdom. This resulted in the particular challenge of creating a land border between the Republic of Ireland and Britain in Northern Ireland. This 310-mile border is extremely difficult to police and so both governments at the time agreed a practical solution to allow ease of travel – the ‘Common Travel Area’ (CTA).
The CTA enables Irish and UK citizens to travel and reside in either jurisdiction without restriction and provides for all associated rights and entitlements in both jurisdictions. The Common Travel Area predates membership of the EU by both Ireland and the UK and is therefore not dependent on it – regardless of any Brexit outcome.
The basic principle guiding the operation of the CTA is that the Irish and UK governments treat each other’s citizens in a similar manner to enable them to freely move between the two jurisdictions, and thereby reside and work in either jurisdiction, without the need for special permission. These arrangements have been in place since Irish independence, with the only period of interruption arising during and immediately after the Second World War.
The CTA includes arrangements for Irish and UK nationals to travel ‘passport free’ between the two jurisdictions. As part of this, the CTA operates, to some degree, similar to the Schengen zone, where immigration authorities in both jurisdictions cooperate to protect the borders of the CTA and prevent its abuse. Information is also shared on visa applicants, asylum seekers, citizenship applications and police watch lists.
The arrangement, in line with the status of Irish and UK nationals in each other’s jurisdictions, also provides reciprocal rights on the freedom to reside, work and access services, including social security, health and education. Both countries generally provide for recognition of the other’s professional and academic qualifications.
Common Travel Area rights can only be exercised by citizens of Ireland and the UK. If you are not a citizen of Ireland or the UK, you will not be able to exercise Common Travel Area rights.
Irish and UK citizens can live in either country and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including:
Brexit and the Common Travel Area
With Brexit still on the cards, there is a lack of clarity on what it will mean for the travel and residency rights of British and EU citizens. However, the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the British and Irish governments cements the pre-existing Common Travel Area policy and provides certainty that Irish and British citizens continue to enjoy the rights and privileges provided by the Common Travel Area. Despite the expectation that the UK will leave the EU in the very near future, this MoU ensures that Irish citizens who may want to go to Britain to live, study, work, retire, can do so as if it was their own country, and vice versa. Ireland will therefore be the only EU country whose citizens may live and work freely and without restrictions in the UK.
Residency in Ireland and the Immigrant Investor Programme
The Common Travel Area afforded to Irish citizens, combined with the fact that the Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) is less than half the cost of the UK Tier 1 Investor Programme means that the Irish IIP is seeing significant growth in popularity as investors recognise that the IIP may provide a useful path to joint Irish/ UK residency.
The Irish IIP allows high net worth investors to secure a Stamp 4 residency visa for themselves and their families and, for those who choose to take up residence in Ireland, they can apply for citizenship by naturalisation after five years. As a citizen of Ireland, they would then automatically be eligible to permanent residency in the UK and Ireland due to the CTA.