Home Office sent 100 deportation letters to EU nationals ‘in error’
The Home Office has pledged to investigate after sending 100 letters to EU nationals threatening them with “detention” unless they left the UK.
The letter surfaced after Eva Johanna Holmberg, a Finnish national who lives in London, said she had been asked to leave within a month or face deportation.
The academic revealed on social media that the Home Office told her that she was “liable to administrative removal” and “a person who is liable to be detained”.
A spokesperson for the department said those that received the document should ignore it, and that the status of EU nationals in the UK “remains unchanged”.
“A limited number of letters were issued in error and we have been urgently looking into why this happened,” they said.
“We are contacting everyone who received this letter to clarify that they can disregard it.
“We are absolutely clear that the rights of EU nationals living in the UK remain unchanged.”
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said the letters were "appalling" and branded the error "catastrophic".
“These letters shame Britain. EU nationals who have made their lives here are already facing huge uncertainty over Brexit," he said.
"It is appalling that some are now being officially threatened with deportation.
“This catastrophic error is a sign of the chaos and incompetence at the heart of this Conservative government.
"Amber Rudd should personally write to apologise to each of those affected and ensure they are fully reimbursed for any legal costs incurred."
James McGrory, the Director of pro-EU campaign group Open Britain, said the incident was “shameful”.
“It’s little wonder that many EU citizens feel worried about their future status in the UK when they hear of people with every right to be here getting letters threatening their deportation," he said.
“The Home Office show scant sign of being able to get a completely new immigration regime up and running by 2019."
Dr Holmberg had originally applied for a "qualified person certificate" after last year’s referendum, but was rejected on the grounds of a technicality.
She said the Home Office then assured her that as an EU national there would be “no requirement” for her to leave the UK.
In a Facebook post prior to the department's admission of an error, the Finn said she was now "even less likely" to trust government ministers.
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