The Irish government has announced that the Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme will be temporarily suspended
Impact - Medium
What is the change?
The Irish government has announced that the Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme will be temporarily suspended as part of COVID-19 measures to restrict travel and protect public health. The programme had allowed certain nationalities visiting the United Kingdom on short stay visas to also travel to Ireland. Under the agreement, the visa holders had to leave Ireland before their permission to stay in the UK ended.
- Implementation time frame: July 10, 2020
- Who is affected: Nationals of 17 countries who hold a UK short stay visa were previously able to use this to enter Ireland, provided they could meet certain requirements. Nationals of the affected countries will no longer be in a position to use their UK short stay visa for a visit to Ireland, but may apply separately for an Irish visa, which under current circumstances would only be accepted if it was a critical case. It is noted that this is a temporary measure, which does not affect the Common Travel Area rights of British/Irish citizens, or the operation of the Common Travel Area.
- Next Steps: Employers should update all employees who may be travelling to Ireland utilising this programme. Nationals of the affected countries will now need to apply for a separate Irish short stay visa. Please note that many embassies are currently restricting issuance to priority/emergency cases.
Analysis & Comments: Deloitte notes the suspension of the programme is being implemented because of a divergence in approach between Ireland and the UK in travel measures to combat the pandemic. It is further noted that this is a temporary measure, which does not affect the Common Travel Area rights of British/Irish citizens, or the operation of the Common Travel Area.
The Government has committed to publishing a Green List of countries on 20 July 2020. This will give clarity in respect of countries which are in a similar position to Ireland in terms of the disease. People entering Ireland from Green List countries will not need to restrict their movements on arrival and the suspension may be reviewed at that time.
If you have employees or potential new hires who may be impacted by the above changes, please contact the Deloitte immigration team to assist. We have created a guidebook for non-EEA nationals to use when setting themselves up on the system and how we will support them through this new process. We continue to update our FAQ for employers found here.