The Common Travel Area: More than just Travel
By Imelda Maher
The Common Travel Area (CTA) is one of the key issues in the current Brexit talks. In principle, it now allows free movement for British and Irish citizens (only) between the two states. There is cooperation on immigration also so EEA citizens and those nationals who do not require visas for both states benefit. In fact, it goes much further, with a number of additional rights arising without the need for permission or, particularly important in Northern Ireland, without the need to assert British citizenship. These are the rights to reside, work, study, access social welfare entitlements and benefits (to a greater extent than under EU law), health care and the right to vote in local and parliamentary elections. In essence, British and Irish citizens’ rights in the two countries are almost indistinguishable (the inability to vote in referenda and Presidential elections in Ireland being one of the very few differences).