The Home Office responds to our question about deportation of EU citizens

Back in December, the3million co-chair Nicolas Hatton wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd about the potential threat of deportation to EU citizens who had their PR application rejected.

The response came over Christmas and in summary, the Home Office confirms the threat of deportation and justifies all rejection based on the current rules and doesn’t address the key issues raised in the letter itself.

How will the Home Office register 3 million people when it struggles to process the applications of tens of thousands? What about the EU citizens exercising treaty rights but having their application rejected due to the over complicated process imposed by an over zealous administration? Based on the 30% rejection rate, could 1 million people be at risk of deportation after Brexit?

The Home Office has clearly its head in the sand and this means we need to intensify the campaign to obtain guarantees on our rights before article 50 is triggered (we are not bargaining chips — more to follow on the campaign on www.the3million.org.uk) and do our upmost to promote the petition to reform the PR application process. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/172343

You can read the response by the Home Office underneath this picture of our letter to Amber Rudd.

The letter from the3million

“Dear Mr Hatton,

Thank you for your letter of 1 December to the Home Secretary about European Union (EU) citizens applying for permanent residence and their future status in the UK. Your letter has been passed to this unit for a response.

Firstly, I should emphasise that whilst the UK remains in the EU, EU nationals here, as well as UK nationals in other EU countries, continue to have the same rights and status, and are subject to the same residence requirements under EU law as was the case before the referendum. EU nationals will only be removed if they are considered to be a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society, if they abuse their free movement rights, or if they are not exercising free movement rights.

EU nationals who have been continuously and lawfully resident in the UK for five years (for example, by exercising Treaty rights) automatically acquire a permanent right of residence under EU law. This will not change as long as the UK remains in the EU. Such EU nationals can apply for documentation confirming their right of residence if they wish but it is not compulsory to do so at present.

You raise concern at the rise in the number of permanent residence applications and the ability of the Home Office to process them in a timely manner. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) staff are deployed according to demands on the service. Currently, all residence documentation applications from EU nationals are being considered within the published service standards.

You may be interested to know that UKVI is working to digitise applications to provide a more modern service that is in line with modern consumers. As part of this, we recently added two EEA application forms to our online application service. These are currently limited to applicants who meet specific conditions but it is planned that they will be extended over the coming months.

You also raise concern at the number of applications being rejected or refused. All applications are considered on their merits in accordance with the relevant legislation and guidance. We think it is right that the onus remains on the applicant to satisfy the decision maker that they meet the relevant requirements and it would not be appropriate to issue documentation where the statutory requirements are not met, or if the applicant does not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they do. Our application forms are accompanied by comprehensive guidance notes to assist applicants in providing the appropriate level of supporting evidence with their applications.

Finally, the Government recognises that EU nationals make an invaluable contribution to our economy and our society. The Prime Minister has been clear that she wants to protect the status of EU nationals already living here and the only circumstances in which that would not be possible are if British citizens’ rights in other EU Member States were not protected in return.

The Government understands that EU citizens need certainty over their status and we intend to reach agreement on this issue as soon as possible in the forthcoming negotiations. However, agreeing a unilateral position in advance of these negotiations would lose negotiating capital with respect to British citizens in EU Member States and place the UK at an immediate disadvantage.

Yours sincerely

Peter Grant
Free Movement Policy Team
Immigration and Border Policy Directorate”

The letter from the Home Office