Northern Ireland citizens to be treated as EU citizens

There is excellent news for some Irish and British people born in Northern Ireland, following recent immigration rule changes. The immigration changes mean that dual British/Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland who meet the requirements below will be treated as EU citizens in the UK for immigration purposes.

The Home Office’s announcement follows years of legal battles concluding in a landmark court case ruling.

Some British people may be able to sponsor family members under a more favourable immigration regime rather than under the much stricter rules of the domestic UK immigration law.

So, in other terms, if a British national, born in Northern Ireland, wishes to sponsor his wife to come to the UK, he will only need to prove his residence in the UK and his relationship with his spouse. There will be no need to fulfil a financial requirement, knowledge of English, etc.

Family members of those dual British/Irish nationals can apply to enter the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. The new provisions will be implemented from 24 August and will apply to those individuals who will be residing in the UK by 31 December 2020, when the Brexit transition period will come to an end. The EU Settlement Scheme will then close on 31 June 2021.

To qualify the person must meet the following requirements:

(i) be a British citizen; or
(ii) an Irish citizen; or
(iii) a British citizen and an Irish citizen; and

(iv) was born in Northern Ireland and, at the time of the person’s birth, at least one of their parents was:

(i) a British citizen; or
(ii) an Irish citizen; or
(iii) a British citizen and an Irish citizen; or
(iv) otherwise entitled to reside in Northern Ireland without any restriction on their period of residence.

It is also important to remember that Irish nationals have a special status in UK immigration law and that they are now considered ‘aliens.’ This means that Irish nationals are deemed to have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. Irish nationals are, therefore, considered to have settled status, from the date they arrive in the UK and formally take up residence in the country.

How Breytenbachs can help you

If you have any questions relating to the above rule changes, do not hesitate to contact a Breytenbachs consultant for further assistance.

Please contact us today for further information or applications.

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