London: The UK and Irish governments have
signed an agreement to preserve the Common Travel Area and
help crack down on illegal immigration.
The Common Travel Area is a passport-free zone that
comprises Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the
Channel Irelands and can be crossed by Irish and British
citizens with only minimal identity documents, a Home Office
The agreement outlines work being taken on by both
countries to prevent abuses of the Common Travel Area, while
protecting its long-established benefits of trade and tourism.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "This agreement
will help us quickly refuse those with poor immigration
records, identify asylum shoppers and speed up the removal
process in those cases where people have entered the Common
He added: "The benefits the Common Travel Area brings to
travellers and the economies of our countries are
well-established but it should not be exploited by those with
no right to be here."
The meeting also included a commitment to the exchange of
information, such as fingerprint biometrics and biographical
details, particularly from `high risk` countries, as part of
the visa issuing process.
Close co-operation between the two countries has this
year revealed that of 1,516 failed asylum claims made in
Ireland, nearly 500 have been identified as being known to the
UK Border Agency.