Brexit prompts British rush for Irish passports

The fast-approaching prospect of Brexit has resulted in the number of Britons applying for Irish passports reaching record levels.

Brexit prompts British rush for Irish passports
Britons are rushing to apply for Irish passports before the Brexit deadline. The annual average of British applications before the 2016 referendum ran at about 45,000 – a total that was reached in the first five months of this year. Indeed, since 2016, the Irish Embassy in London has issued more than 176,000 passports, over ten times more than any other embassy worldwide.

Working throughout the EU27

The reason, of course, is that, after Brexit, Irish passport holders will retain the right to work, travel and live freely throughout the EU27. And most Britons with an Irish-born parent or grandparent are entitled to apply for one of the Republic's passports (details at the end of this article).Additionally, there has been a surge is applications from people in Northern Ireland, where most locally-born people have an automatic eligibility for a Republic of Ireland passport. New figures showed that Ulster applications grew from 53,715 in 2015 to 82,274 last year.

Visit our Brexit pages for all of the latest Brexit news

Neale Richmond, who chairs the Irish Senate's Brexit committee, said that, last year, the total of passports granted stood at nearly 81,000 because of the "looming disaster of Brexit"."Since the people of the UK voted, narrowly, to leave the EU in 2016, we have seen a continuing rise in the number of applications for Irish passports in the UK," he said."Current rules entitle those born to Irish parents or grandparents to apply for an Irish passport through a claim to citizenship."At least 10 per cent of the UK's population, not including Northern Ireland, are estimated to qualify for an Irish passport and, in light of Brexit, many – including a number of my own family members – are staking their claim to an Irish passport."Figures released to me by the Irish Embassy in London have shown that there is no sign of this rush for Irish passports abating."Figures for the first half of 2018 show the number of applications received by the embassy in London is already at 44,962. Embassy officials predict that based on this, 2018 will be the busiest year so far for Irish passport applications in the UK."While many in the UK are concerned with the looming disaster of Brexit, we must seize the positives from this new wave of people reconnecting with their Irish heritage, our post-Brexit UK-Irish relations can be built on a strong, connected, diaspora."

Applications from Brits at an all time high

Details of the passport applications were revealed by the Irish government in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Social Democrat MP Catherine Murphy. The figures showed that, in contrast to Britain, applications from elsewhere in the world have dropped slightly.
Brits are seeking citizenship in many other countries too. Find out where here.
Ms Murphy noted that the number of applications had fallen annually since 2016 in places with significant Irish populations including New York, San Francisco and Boston, although there had been an increase in applications to the Chicago consulate from 1,126 in 2016 to 2,046 last year and 1,435 up to the end of September this year.Applications had also fallen from nations such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Japan.
In Africa, applications from Nigeria, Mozambique, Uganda, and Tanzania have also fallen. In Kenya, there were no applications in 2016 or 2017, but four this year.* People in Britain can claim an Irish passport or citizenship if they were born in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland before January 1, 2005; if they were born in Ireland after that date to parents who were British or Irish citizens; if their parents or grandparents were Irish citizens born in Ireland. Exemptions also apply for those resident in Ireland for extended periods.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news.

Related Articles