With or Without EU? The Common Travel Area after Brexit
German Law Journal, 2020
19 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2019 Last revised: 26 Jun 2020
Date Written: August 16, 2019
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concluded between the UK and Ireland in May 2019 provides one of the few clear legacies of Theresa May’s premiership. The Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man has long lacked legal definition. Nonetheless, for decades, it has provided the basis for domestic immigration and nationality laws which permit Irish citizens to reside in the UK and for them to be treated as ‘not-foreign’ in the context of UK domestic laws concerning access to healthcare, employment, social security, political participation and education. The UK and Ireland reciprocate, to a rough extent, these rights for each other’s citizens. The MoU and related developments are first steps towards clarifying the CTA’s scope. The manner in which this MoU was concluded, and the rush to alter parts of the UK’s domestic law relating to the CTA, nonetheless speak to the fragile state of Ireland/UK relations after the Brexit referendum. This article explores whether these reforms will enable individuals reliant upon the CTA to protect their interests through litigation, and reflects upon the relationship between these arrangements and the settled-status rights proposed for EU citizens under the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement.
Keywords: Brexit, Common Travel Area, Freedom of Movement, UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement, EU Citizenship
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