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Common Travel Area

Volume 659: debated on Thursday 9 May 2019

Recognising the deep and enduring relationship between our two countries, the UK Government and the Government of Ireland yesterday entered into a memorandum of understanding reaffirming our joint commitment to the common travel area (CTA), and to maintaining the associated rights and privileges of British and Irish citizens under this longstanding reciprocal arrangement.

The UK has consistently reiterated its commitment to maintaining the CTA. Following on from guidance published in February, this Memorandum of Understanding reaffirms the support of the UK Government for the principles of the CTA, and the rights it affords British and Irish citizens when in the other’s state.

The CTA, involving the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and Ireland, facilitates the ability of British and Irish citizens to move freely within it. Flowing from this right to move freely are associated reciprocal rights and privileges that are enjoyed daily by British citizens in Ireland, and Irish citizens in the UK. These include access to employment, healthcare, all levels of education, and social benefits on the same basis as citizens of the other state, as well as the right to vote in local and national parliamentary elections.

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. Both Governments are committed to undertake all the work necessary, including through legislative provision, to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected.