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UK immigration plan could see border checks for workers

CONCERNS about the impact of Brexit on the border have not gone away, with the latest immigration plan by the UK once again firing up fears about the reintroduction of border checks.

The latest cause for concern is the proposed Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently being passed through the houses of the Westminster parliament.

Described as the “cornerstone” of the Conservative government’s post-Brexit immigration plan, it will make Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) a legal requirement for entry into the UK by anyone from outside the Common Travel Area (CTA).

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That means the new law, expected to come into force in 2025, will require anyone without a British or Irish passport to apply for the travel passes to be able to cross the Fermanagh border. That includes EU nationals currently living on one side of the border and working on the other.

Local companies are already seeking more information on what the new rules will mean, with the now-familiar Brexit uncertainty returning due to the lack of detail on how the plan will actually work on the Irish border.

When asked by the Herald if it was concerned about the impact it could have on operations, a spokesman for Mannok, which is located right on the border of Fermanagh and Cavan, called for more clarity.

“We would need to look at the detail but any proposal that limits current movement of people or goods crossing the border would be very unwelcome,” said the spokesman.

The Irish government has said it plans to raise its concerns about the plan with the UK government, with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar stating they would be contacting the UK government, but adding the plan “doesn’t come as a huge surprise.”

“Part of the argument in favour of Brexit was about controlling their borders, and also about reducing and stopping immigration from the European Union, and this is part of the outworking of that,” Mr Varadkar told the Dail.

“Ending free movement was a big part of the argument that they made. But we will absolutely be making our views known.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA