Brit nationals rush for Irish passports to retain freedom of movement

Published:  17 Apr at 6 PM
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Applications by Britons for Irish passports have increased by more than 60 per cent since the Brexit referendum result was announced.

As the outcome of the Brexit referendum for Brits needing freedom of movement gets gloomier, applications for Irish passports as well as for citizenship of other EU member states has soared. According to the Republic of Ireland’s foreign minister Charlie Flanagan, there has been an increase of over two thirds in British applications from those with Irish descent. Over 50,000 applications have been received so far this year. A 2016 article in the Guardian newspaper revealed that many applicants were taking the step in order to preserve their right to freedom of movement within the UK for business reasons.

Flanagan believes the huge increase in applications this year is down to awareness amongst Britons of Irish descent that claiming a passport could well be the only way to retain the benefits of EU citizenship. Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed, the almost two million residents in Northern Ireland have been entitled to dual EU and British citizenship.

Expatriation to Ireland from the UK may seem a drastic step for Brits of Irish descent who’ve lived in the UK all their lives, but the lack of clarity over Brexit to date for those with business or family connections with the Irish Republic is clearly having its effect. According to the BBC, increasing numbers of British expats living and working in Belgium are making the same decision in order to ensure their futures in their chosen country of residence.

At present, some 25,000 Brits call Belgium their home, with an increasing number thinking of becoming citizens and a handful actually doing it. Business consultant Glynis Whiting has lived and worked in Brussels for 20 years, and had applied for citizenship before the referendum took place, seeing it as an insurance against having to leave should the vote go the wrong way.

Since her application was accepted, the number of British nationals applying for citizenship has become a steady stream. However, the many British expats employed in EU institutions may be out of luck, as it’s not yet clear whether or not the law stating only EU citizens may be employed will be adhered to once Brexit is finalised.

Source: The Guardian, BBC
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