Northern Ireland-born British and Irish win EU citizenship rights

The UK government forced to change its position:

All British and Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland will be be treated as EU citizens for immigration purposes, the government has announced after a landmark court case involving a Derry woman over the residency rights of her US-born husband.

The move is a major victory for Emma de Souza ending a three-year battle to be recognised by the Home Office as Irish, a right enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).

De Souza said: “This is great news. To get a concession from the British government and a change in the immigration law is no small feat.

“It is incredibly satisfying to be considered as EU citizens and will be a great help to all the other families in my situation.”

Her husband, Jake, will now be allowed to remain in the UK indefinitely if he applies for the EU settlement scheme, an immigration status for all EU citizens wanting to remain in the UK post-Brexit.

The Home Office made its rule change in parliament on Thursday, finally bringing immigration law into line with the 1998 peace deal, which allows anyone born in Northern Ireland to be British, Irish or both.

Source: Northern Ireland-born British and Irish win EU citizenship rights

Is the British Home Office creating two tiers of Irish citizenship?

Of interest, as the UK grapples with the implications of Brexit and Northern Ireland:

The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) explicitly states that people born in Northern Ireland are unique within the UK in having the birthright to identify as Irish or British or both.

However, the British Home Office is now arguing through the courts that the people born in Northern Ireland are “automatically British” as they were “clearly born in the United Kingdom.”

This is not a cosmetic assertion, it’s not merely a quibble over language or intent. Making citizens of Northern Ireland automatically British against their wishes has profound implications for their lives and for the future stability of the peace there.

Critics contend that the Home Office is essentially forcing British citizenship on Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland – citizens who identify as Irish by birth and by choice.

They are also forcibly countering an option that the people of Ireland north and south voted in record numbers for in the Good Friday Agreement referendum in 1998.

Take the example of an Irish national who holds an Irish passport, and who was born in Derry. The position of the Home Office is that they are a dual British/Irish national, but if they would like to fully retain and access their rights as an Irish and E.U. national in the U.K. they would have to “renounce” their British citizenship and rely solely on their Irish citizenship. Even if they have never claimed British citizenship. Even if they do not hold a British passport.

Source: Is the British Home Office creating two tiers of Irish citizenship?