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Social welfare rights for UK citizens in Ireland and vice versa officially unaffected despite Brexit

A bilateral agreement covers a range of different benefits including those for sickness, parents, pensions and unemployment.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys.
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys.
Image: Julien Behal

IRISH PEOPLE WILL continue to benefit from social welfare rights in the UK and vice-versa despite Brexit, the Department of Social Protection has said. 

The reassurance comes after Minister Social Protection Heather Humphreys signed the commencement order for a Convention on Social Security with the UK. 

The Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and the UK has been maintained despite Brexit, meaning citizens from either country are free to live, work and study in the other. 

The convention therefore seeks to extend these freedoms to social welfare entitlements. 

“I am pleased to re-assure people that my department has good news for citizens, the social welfare arrangements that we already have in place will continue without any change,” Humphreys has said today. 

As of a result of commencing the convention now, I can assure you that if you are an Irish citizen living in the UK, or a British citizen living in Ireland, your social welfare rights will not change after 1 January 2021.

The agreement covers a range of different benefits including those for sickness, parents, pensions and unemployment. 

Under the terms of the convention, Ireland will also recognise UK social insurance contributions made by EU citizens in the UK for the purposes of social security benefits in Ireland. 

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Rónán Duffy

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