Thousands of Britons expelled from Europe after Brexit, new figures show

More than 2,250 British citizens have been ordered to leave the European Union since the end of the Brexit transition period, according to new figures.

Figures released last month by Eurostat show that from 1 January 2021, the day British citizens lost their right to free movement within the EU, there were a total of 2,285 UK nationals, around 108 per month, until the end of September last year.

There were large differences in numbers between Member States: Sweden accounted for almost half (1,050) and the Netherlands almost a third, while Germany expelled only 25.

Malta ordered 115 UK citizens, France 95, Belgium 65, Denmark 40 and Austria 10 to leave, while some countries with large UK populations, including Spain, Portugal and Italy, did not report removal orders.

Experts noted that the figures, first reported by Sweden Localhe did not reveal the reasons for the expulsion, but said the figures were “the clearest reminder” of the consequences of Brexit.

“British citizens are now third-country nationals in the EU, and those not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement are subject to national immigration rules,” said Professor Michaela Benson of Lancaster University, who has conducted extensive research into the UK’s relationship with its nationals abroad.

Professor Benson said the difference in expulsion numbers across the bloc most likely reflects differences in national policies on immigration, registration, registration and reporting.

“Denmark obviously has a very tough approach to all immigration,” she said.

Some countries have also changed their approach to British citizens. The Netherlands has for some time “flexible Brexit policy”, which allowed UK residents to apply for documents even after the transition period.

The EU flag outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster during the 2019 Brexit negotiations. (PA)

The EU flag outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster during the 2019 Brexit negotiations. (PA)

But that policy ended last October and British citizens are now treated the same as all other third-country nationals, the Dutch immigration department said.

Jane Golding, an EU law specialist and co-chair of the British in Europe group, said some countries had issued “disturbingly high” removal orders, but the figures did not distinguish between people who arrived after December 2020. from the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

“Without further information, we cannot tell if there are issues with the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement in some countries that need to be investigated,” Golding said.

There is no comparison with previous years, as in the data “third-country nationals with an order to leave” and British citizens were treated as EU citizens until early 2021.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals who were legally residing in one of the 27 EU Member States at the end of the transition period were eligible for permanent residence.

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