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‘’New Decade, New Approach’’ – aim to implement ‘by the end of the year’ 

10th April 2020

22 years ago today the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ was signed. Like today, that Good Friday fell on April 10th.

This week in response to questions raised by the Alliance Party’s, Stephen Farry, Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department: 

‘’Article 1 (vi) of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement sets out the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British as they may so choose, and confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship. In line with this commitment, the people of Northern Ireland are legally able to hold British or Irish citizenship, or both.

The reciprocal Common Travel Area arrangements between the UK and Ireland ensure the people of Northern Ireland are not required to choose and assert an identity, or to align their citizenship with their choice of identity, in order to access public services and other entitlements in the UK.

As set out in the New Decade, New Approach document published in January 2020, the Home Office intends to change the UK’s Immigration Rules so family members of the people of Northern Ireland can apply for immigration status on broadly the same terms as family members of Irish citizens and will open this route as soon as delivery allows. We aim to do this before the end of the year.

The Rules change will enable the people of Northern Ireland to bring their family members to the UK on broadly the same basis as family members of Irish citizens who have entry and residence rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.’’

This is greatly unhelpful to many of our clients from Northern Ireland with non-EEA family members who remain in a precarious situation as they anxiously await the implementation of the immigration proposals contained within  the text. Many will now consider renouncing British citizenship so that they can access residency rights for their family members under EU law. The primary purpose of the recommended immigration changes, as stated by former Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith was that “there should never be an incentive to renounce British citizenship.’’ 

We will continue to work with our clients on matters relating to family rights of residency and citizenship. 

Jack McClelland 

Legal Assistant 

For more information email:

Granite Immigration Law

Granite Immigration Law is part of Granite Legal Services which is a newly established business law practice in Newry City. Our solicitors are UK / Irish dual qualified. We have a dedicated immigration team working on individual and business immigration matters covering a wide range of matters from citizenship to employment permits and EU Treaty Rights.

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