EU citizens arriving in UK locked up and deported | Brexit
EU citizens sent to migrant withdrawal centers and detained in airport detention rooms as UK government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy falls on them after Brexit, activists and travelers interviewed say by the Guardian.
Europeans who have job interviews are among those who are refused entry and locked up. They said they were subjected to the traumatic and humiliating experience of the deportation, despite Interior Ministry rules which explicitly allow non-visa holders to attend the interviews.
Confusion over whether EU citizens can explore the UK labor market and then return home with an offer to apply for a work visa has added to the growing number of detentions. In other cases, visitors are clearly breaking rules, such as those which now prohibit EU citizens from taking unpaid internships.
At least a dozen European citizens – mostly young women – were arrested and deported at Gatwick airport alone for 48 hours last week, two Spanish inmates told the Guardian. Some were sent a two-hour drive to Yarl’s Wood Detention Center in Bedfordshire, where a fear of Covid forced them to be confined to their rooms.
Italy, France, Bulgaria and Greece are other countries whose citizens have been detained in a British airport or detention center. It is understood that a Frenchman was detained at Edinburgh Airport for 48 hours recently, while the Bulgarian Ambassador to the UK confirmed that a number of his nationals had been detained in withdrawal of migrants.
The two Spaniards were arrested at Gatwick on May 2-3 after arriving on separate flights from Valencia and Bilbao.
María, 25, from Valencia, said that, like many detained people, she believed she was free to explore the job market until at least October, especially since she had lived and worked in the UK before. María said when border officials at Gatwick said they were going to deport her, she offered to pay for a return flight the same day. Instead, she was sent to Yarl’s Wood, where she spent three anxious days. “I’m still in shock,” she said.