Call for evidence: Deportation of EU Citizens and Family Members from the UK

Have you or your family received an order to leave the UK or been removed from the UK?

The EU Rights Clinic would like to hear from you!

Since the Brexit referendum, the numbers of EU citizens being detained and deported from the UK have risen significantly. This is despite statements by the UK authorities that there will be no change to the status of EU citizens living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU.

The actions of the UK authorities are in direct contravention of the right to move and reside freely under Directive 2004/38. Under the EU rules, Member States can only enforce the removal of EU citizens or their family members when they represent a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to public policy or public security. The EU Rights Clinic is therefore alarmed to hear of new reports of EU citizens who are being told to leave the country for reasons not connected to public policy or public security.

There have been several reports in the press of EU citizens and their families being threatened with deportation, being detained and being forcibly removed from the UK. The Home Office appears to be acting without consideration of the repercussions on remaining family members, including their financial livelihood and ties to the local community.

The EU Rights Clinic considers this systematic disregard for the right to free movement and protections against expulsion to be a major breach of EU law. We intend on raising the issue with the EU institutions. We would therefore like to hear from those who have been affected by the UK’s current pattern of threatening expulsion, detention, and deportation of EU citizens and their family members irrespective of whether they represent a threat to public policy or public security.

We are calling upon EU citizens and their family members have received an order to leave the UK and those who have been deported from the UK to contact us by email and share their experiences.

Please send your stories to eurightsclinic@gmail.com – please insert “UK EXP” in the subject of your email.

We hope to use this information to formulate a complaint to the EU institutions so they can take action to bring an end to the restrictive practices of the UK authorities.

All information received will be treated confidentially and will not be divulged without your explicit consent.

The EU Rights Clinic

The EU Rights is grateful for the financial support it has received from the European Programme for Integration and Migration under its sub-fund on EU mobility.

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EU Rights Clinic Refers Sweden to European Commission for Breach of Free Movement Rules

Brussels, 14 November 2017

Today, the EU Rights Clinic has submitted a complaint to the European Commission against Sweden for the refusal of the Swedish tax authorities to issue a personal identification number – ‘personnummer’ – to EU citizens and their family members living in Sweden, preventing them from engaging in everyday life in Sweden.

A personnummer is essential for accessing any kind of private or public service – banking services, renting a home, phone and internet services, medical treatment, getting a job. The systematic refusal to issue a personnummer to EU citizens and their family members constitutes a restriction on their free movement rights and is in breach of EU law.

As this is a problem that has existed for over ten years, we urge the Commission to take a strong enforcement stance and bring infringement proceedings against Sweden under Article 258 TFEU and take the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) without further delay.

In conjunction with the complaint, the EU Rights Clinic will also be submitting a petition to the European Parliament.

Background

The problem relates to the Swedish population register law, which requires EU citizens to demonstrate that they will reside in Sweden for a year or more before being able to obtain a personal identification number. In addition, the Swedish administrative policy on comprehensive sickness insurance is unduly restrictive because in practice neither private healthcare nor reliance on the public healthcare system is accepted.

Under EU law, EU citizens should be considered genuinely resident in Sweden after having only lived in Sweden for three months. While EU law does allow Sweden to require EU citizens who are not in employment to hold comprehensive sickness insurance for themselves and their family members, the rules must be applied in a proportionate way and must give due regard to all forms of healthcare coverage.

The Swedish rules are in breach of Article 45 Charter of Fundamental Rights, Articles 20, 21 and 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Articles 24 and 25 of Directive 2004/38, as well as related ECJ case law.

The Commission has previously investigated the problem and issued a Letter of Formal Notice in infringement Case 2007-4081, but the case was closed because of assurances given by Swedish authorities. The Parliament has also received a number of petitions and recommended the use of the so-called “coordination number”, but this is not a feasible solution because such a coordination number does not provide access to the full range of public and private services.

The EU Rights Clinic is a collaboration between ECAS and the University of Kent in Brussels. As part of the ACT for Free Movement project, funded by EPIM, the EU Rights Clinic is investigating cases of breaches of free movement rights in EU Member States. This complaint was submitted in cooperation with Crossroads Göteborg. Together, the EU Rights Clinic and Crossroads Göteborg have received 285 individual complaints from affected EU citizens and their family members.

Read the executive summary of the complaint here

The EU Rights is grateful for the financial support it has received from the European Programme for Integration and Migration under its sub-fund on EU mobility.

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