The Common Travel Area - All you need to know and how you can help
We need your help to lobby the British and Irish Governments to extend the rights and privileges enjoyed by CTA Nationals to all legal residents of the Island of Ireland.
The Common Travel Area (CTA) is the widely used term for a variety of rights exercised by citizens of Ireland and the United Kingdom that allows them to move freely – without checks – across the two islands. CTA nationals can live, work, vote and access benefits in both states.
The CTA arrangement began in 1922 based on an understanding between the UK and Ireland, due to their common history and
because of difficulties applying immigration controls at a shared border. Over time, some of the rights came to be included in different pieces of legislation in both Ireland and the UK. While the CTA is recognised under the Treaty of Amsterdam, it is not dependant on the European Union and so CTA rights continue even though the UK has left the EU.
Not everyone who lives on the island of Ireland can access these rights. Important categories of permanent residents of Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI), are excluded
• People with permission to live, work and study in either NI or ROI.
• People married to UK or Irish Nationals.
• Refugees with ‘Leave to Remain’/ Indefinite Leave to remain (permission from the government to stay in a country indefinitely).
• Asylum seekers.
• Migrant workers from Africa, Asia and other non-EU countries with Indefinite Leave to remain.
• Migrant workers from Africa, Asia and other non EU countries with permanent residence in ROI.
Permanent residents of Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland who are classified as non CTA citizens are not permitted to:
• Move freely within the island of Ireland for leisure, tourism or even work.
• Travel within the island of Ireland for connecting flights.
• Access services such as healthcare even if they pay the compulsory NHS surcharge, currently at £624 per year of leave granted on their visas.
• Vote in certain elections, even if they pay full taxes.
• Access the job market within the Island of Ireland.
• Access education/learning exchange programmes within the island of Ireland.
• Participate in cross border sporting events or recreational activities.
• Access necessities such as petrol, milk, food, medicine and so on. This is a huge challenge for those living in border areas such as Derry/ Strabane and, Culmore/Lifford, where the nearest pharmacy is often the other side of the border.
The only paediatric cardiology unit on the island of Ireland is in Dublin. This means a refugee child in Northern Ireland with a heart condition may be unable to access urgent care without a visa, which is expensive and can take months to be approved.
The restrictions within the Common Travel Area have a detrimental impact on the daily lives of many permanent residents. For example: the mental health impact on young people who have been excluded from cross border school trips, sports activities, and day trips to the beach with peers and friends.
This policy not only disproportionately impacts on new residents, it also denies citizens their right to enjoy quality of life with their families. Even if one family member is a CTA national, they may not be able to travel with a non CTA national family member. This affects many people. This is a whole of society problem and we need you to help us so that we can all share this island as equals.
North West Migrants Forum, with partners, has launched a campaign for change. The campaign will:
• Raise awareness about the CTA and the many ways in excludes our friends, neighbours, and others.
• Work to overcome the discrimination against non CTA nationals living, working and studying on the island of Ireland.
• Put an end to racial inequalities that currently exist in the CTA arrangement.
We need your help to lobby the British and Irish Governments to extend the rights and privileges enjoyed by CTA Nationals to non CTA Nationals on the Island of Ireland.
• All individuals and communities across the island of Ireland who care about equality and fairness.
• Local, regional, and national politicians.
• Youth groups.
• Colleges and universities.
• Civil society organisations.
Common Travel Area and Freedom of Movement on the Island of Ireland, Policy Brief written by NWMF and CAJ.
The Following Organisations Have Endorsed Our Campaign
– AFRICA HOUSE NI
– ALLIANCE FOR CHOICE, DERRY
– BELFAST ASIAN WOMEN’S ACADEMY
– BELFAST MULTICULTURAL ASSOCIATION
– BLOODY SUNDAY TRUST, MUSEUM Of FREE DERRY
– CENTRE FOR CROSS BORDER STUDIES
– COMMITTEE ON THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
– COMMUNITY ACTION TENANTS UNION (CATU)
– CREGGAN ENTERPRISES DERRY
– DERRY CITY AND STRABANE DISTRICT COUNCIL
– DONEGAL INTERCULTURAL PLATFORM
– END DEPORTATIONS BELFAST
– ETHNIC MINORITY SPORTS ORGANISATION NI (EMSONI)
– HORN OF AFRICA PEOPLE’S AID NI (HAPANI)
– IRELAND NEW COMMUNITIES NETWORK
– IRISH CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS NORTHERN IRELAND
– JOSEPH ROWNTREE CHARITABLE TRUST (JRCT)
– PROGRESSIVE POLITICS NI
– RECLAIM THE AGENDA
– SOULSPACE PEACE & RECONCILIATION HUB, BELFAST
– STEPHEN’S GREEN TRUST (SSTG)
– STRONGER TOGETHER
– THE JOHN & PAT HUME FOUNDATION
– UNITED AGAINST RACISM – BELFAST
– ZERO WASTE NORTH WEST
– IRISH NETWORK AGAINST RACISM
– IRISH MUSLIM COUNCIL
Sign Our Petition Today!
On The Island Of Ireland