Thursday 8 December 2016

What could Brexit mean for the Irish living in the UK?

Published 24/06/2016 | 14:24

Boris Johnson holds a press conference at Brexit HQ in Westminster, London
Boris Johnson holds a press conference at Brexit HQ in Westminster, London

Ireland has always had a special relationship with Britain but as they prepare to leave the EU, what will happen to the Irish living there? Here’s everything you need to know:

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Special Irish status

Currently Irish citizens are treated the same as the British for issues like social welfare, work and pensions.

Leave campaigners in Britain have insisted that the special status of the estimated 600,000 Irish-born immigrants in the UK will not change.

Cartoon by Marian Kemensky, Slovakia/Austria
Cartoon by Marian Kemensky, Slovakia/Austria

But former president Mary McAleese has argued that this cannot be taken for granted following a Leave campaign in which immigration loomed large. She also raised doubts that Britain could be able to continue "special Irish status" under international law.

Visas

The UK and Ireland have enjoyed a common travel agreement since the 1920s, strengthened by EU membership.

Migration was a recurring issue for Leave voters and while it wasn’t directly aimed at Ireland, it will be hard for the UK to introduce one law for one country and another for a different country.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD speaking to media at Government Buildings, Dublin following the outcome of the UK EU referendum, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD speaking to media at Government Buildings, Dublin following the outcome of the UK EU referendum, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

The 2011 Short Stay Visa Waiver programme allowed visitors to the UK to travel here, and vice versa. This is sure to be re-examined and is unknown if the programme will continue with Ireland.

READ MORE: 'How to emigrate' - searches spike on Google after Britain votes to leave EU  

Jobs

Throughout the 20th century, Irish immigrants traditionally worked in blue collar industries. However in the most recent recession triggered in 2007, many Irish immigrants were highly educated and took jobs in finance and technology multinational companies. The continued presence of many of these companies 

With uncertainty surrounding stock markets pension funds will take a hit, which will particularly be felt by those who are due to retire over the next few years.

Recession?

Irish in the UK may have to suffer through another recession as Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU is uncertain. As the value of the pound plummets the UK could enter a recession affecting employment and job stability.

Border controls

25,000 people cross the border every day for work in the Republic - Brexit could see the return of border controls, which would be a major headache for those commuting.

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