A Home Office letter, written on behalf of UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd, is ‘advising’ EU citizens to ‘go home or go elsewhere’ because they have the ‘freedom to travel across the EU and can visit, live and in most cases work in any other EU member state.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:
The UK Visa Department is taking an unnecessarily aggressive attitude towards EU immigrants and others. As we have already said this means greater injustices towards immigrants and those who help immigrants. Time is running out for a new UK visa scheme by the time Brexit occurs apparently on 29 March 2019. The Tier 2 Visa and Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship licence system as it is now will not be able to cope with the increased demand for overseas migrants after Brexit.
The letter appears to ‘forestall the UK’s exit from the EU’, according to a report published by The Guardian.
Meanwhile, EU nationals detained in UK Visas and Immigration detention centres are being warned to leave the UK or ‘face destitution’, in the latest case of the UK government adopting an aggressive stance towards citizens from European nations.
The letter, dated 18 October and written by authorities from the Home Office’s UK Visas and Immigration department, was sent to a Romanian national in a UK immigration detention centre. The letter notified him that his application for emergency accommodation had been denied and that he should ‘consider another country.’
An excerpt from the letter reads: “You could avoid becoming destitute by returning to Romania or another EU member state where you could enjoy access to all your ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights] without interference.”
The ECHR safeguards the human rights and freedoms of individuals across 47 countries tied to the Council of Europe. The legislation outlaws a number of unfair and harmful practices.
Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, the number of immigration detentions and enforced removals of EU citizens has climbed dramatically.
This has prompted critics to slam the Home Office for purposely taking aim at EU nationals, and playing their part in the creation of a ‘hostile environment’ promised by Theresa May, against those she believes should not be in the UK.
Deportations of EU citizens
An analysis of government data indicates that deportations of EU nationals have hit their highest level since records began. In the year to June 2017, 5,301 EU citizens were forcibly removed from the UK. Meanwhile, a policy was introduced that sought to deport EU nationals caught sleeping rough on Britain’s streets.
Director of the legal charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BiD), Celia Clarke, said: “One of the worrying aspects of the Home Office letter refusing an EU national entitlement to accommodation to enable him to apply for bail to get out of detention is its tone: effectively telling a detainee to go home or go to another EU country.”
Ms Clarke added that the behaviour of UK officials towards EU nationals is intolerable, and sets an unpleasant tone for Britain’s future relations with EU nationals. “This behaviour should be a worry to all Brits,” Clarke said.
Clarke warned that Britain’s split from the EU is becoming increasingly bitter, and this is reflected in both the tone and aggressive practices of the Home Office.
Rights of EU citizens in the UK
Amid intense pressure, Theresa May has so far resisted making any promises to maintain the rights of EU nationals in the UK, until the future of UK citizens across the remaining EU member states is secured.
However, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, recently attempted to quash any unrest by telling a meeting of Polish dignitaries that their rights would be protected irrespective of what happened after Brexit.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May faces further potential headaches, after documents emerged detailing the European Commission’s plans to investigate the increased detention of EU nationals in Britain.
A letter from the European commission’s directorate-general for justice stated that an investigation would take place to establish whether UK authorities are restricting “the rights of EU citizens to move and reside freely”. It’s understood that the commission has begun the process of asking for evidence on the issue.
Amendments to UK Visa law
The letter issued by the commission, dated 20 October, has stated that it will be ‘looking into the amendments of UK law’, which were introduced in February and have been routinely used to deport EU citizens from Britain.
In accordance with the controversial law changes, individuals from EU nations caught sleeping rough in the UK can now be subject to ‘administrative removal.’
Celia Clarke said: “These regulations seem to have created the conditions for a cavalier approach towards the detention and removal of EEA nationals.”
Meanwhile, the Home Office has declined to comment, except to say that ‘the description of the letter provided is not one we recognise as a Home Office document.’
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