New travel passes will be required from 2025 to pass the Irish border in the latest Brexit blow.
The legal requirement will be enforced through the Nationality and Borders Bill proposed by the current Tory government, which is currently being passed through Parliament.
It will make the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) a requirement for entry into the UK from anyone outside the Common Travel Area, which means those without British or Irish passports have to apply for travel passes to pass the border.
This includes EU citizens who live on one side of the border and work on the other, prompting fears among companies in the area about the impact this will have on their business.
One business group, Mannok, headquartered on the border of Fermanagh and Cavan, asked for more clarity and said limiting the movement of people and goods “would be very unwelcome,” according to the Fermanagh Herald.
Ireland’s deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar said his government is set to discuss its worries with the UK government, but noted the Tories’ plan “doesn’t come as a huge surprise.”
He said: “Part of the argument in favour of Brexit was about controlling their borders, and also about reducing and stopping immigration from the European Union, and this is part of the outworking of that.
“Ending free movement was a big part of the argument that they made. But we will absolutely be making our views known.”
Nationality and Borders Bill lets Home Office remove citizenship without notice
The Nationality and Borders Bill has come under fire late last year when a new clause was quietly added to pave the way for the Home Office to remove British citizenship without notice – and even act retrospectively.
Clause 9 of the bill, “notice of decision to deprive a person of citizenship”, was updated earlier this month to give the green light to the government to remove the need to give notice if this is not “reasonably practicable”.
Other reasons why the Home Office may do so are related to national security, diplomatic relations and public interest.
Scrapping the need to give notice is making EU citizens in the UK anxious, many more of whom have been spending thousands of pounds on citizenship applications to feel more secure about their lives in Britain after post-Brexit decisions made by the government.
Whilst the new citizenship clause would allow the Home Office to apply law retrospectively to people stripped of citizenship without notice before the clause became law, raising questions about the ability to appeal, this is not the first time rules related to citizenship were tightened in an unfair way under Boris Johnson’s government.
In May last year, campaigners warned EU nationals were fearful their citizenship applications would be rejected because they lacked private health insurance in the past.
Campaigners said EU citizens were never informed of the need for comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI) by British officials, and believe they are being punished unnecessarily. The UK has one of the costliest citizenship application processes in Europe – around £1,300 for the application alone, excluding additional tests and appointments required, and the cost of lawyers where needed.