It has transpired over the past number of days, suggestions that the British government, as part of its Brexit initiative, is proposing to introduce a new visa system for EU citizens wishing to take up employment in the UK.
It is understood the scheme being drawn up by the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, would restrict immigration to those who have obtained a skilled job before being granted a visa to enter the UK. There is little in detail on the proposal.
The Home Office will need to clarify at some future date, whether this visa entry system will apply to nationals from the Republic of Ireland.
The prime minister, Theresa May, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland and the immigration minister, have recently stressed the government wish – or is it hopes? – to maintain what has now emerged politically as a ‘special relationship’ with the Republic of Ireland. I assume they are referring to the treaty of the Belfast Agreement.
Will the nationals from the Republic of Ireland be exempt from the proposed new visa system or, as they should, also be required to obtain visas if wishing to take up work in the United Kingdom? The government in tandem will need to give serious consideration to repeal the Irish Act 1949.
The British government can do this without negotiation or consultation with the government of Ireland.
MW Woods, Bangor