It was confirmed, just last week, that for the purpose of immigration laws, Irish citizens are considered settled. Clarifying, that officials in individual cases who had been denying Irish citizens settled status were in fact wrong in doing so.
In UK immigration law, Irish nationals are treated differently as the Common Travel Area joins the UK and Republic of Ireland in a free movement zone independently of the European Union. This special status includes an Irish citizen being considered “settled” — having legal permission to live in the UK permanently unless deported for a criminal offence — as soon as they take up ordinary residence here.
In fact, last month in an immigration appeal in the First-tier Tribunal in Belfast, the Home Office presenting officer claimed that Irish citizens may be settled, but only as a matter of EU law and if they fit the criteria.
The department has now moved to clarify the official position. It now says:
“Irish citizens have a special status in the UK. The rights of Irish citizens in the UK are rooted in the Ireland Act 1949 but also provided for in subsequent legislation. These rights include the right to enter and remain without being subject to a requirement to obtain permission. Irish citizens are treated as settled from the date they take up ordinary residence in the UK. They are considered to be settled as they are free from any restriction on the period for which they may remain-paragraph 6 of HC 395.
The rights of Irish citizens will be protected as the UK leaves the EU. The Home Office Statement of Intent for the EU Settlement Scheme issued on 21 June 2018 stated:
Irish citizens enjoy a right of residence in the UK that is not reliant on the UK’s membership of the EU. They will not be required to apply for status under the scheme (but may do so if they wish), and their eligible family members (who are not Irish citizens or British citizens) will be able to obtain status under the scheme without the Irish citizen doing so. Please accept my apologies for this error and in order to prevent a mistake of this nature happening again an instruction on this issue has been reissued.”