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Can EU/EEA Citizens Be Deported from the UK After Brexit?

Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, EU/EEA nationals have been left in a perpetual state of uncertainty as to the circumstances in which they can be deported once Britain leaves the EU. Thankfully, 2020 has provided some clarity. The good news is that, according to the European Parliament's Brexit Co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, there will be no automatic deportation of people if they failed to apply for settled status. Mr. Verhofstadt told The Guardian:

"I wanted to be sure that there would be no automatic deportation for people after that period because it can be people who are very vulnerable.

"The idea would be that even these people, after the grace period, they will have the possibility to apply to give the grounds for why it was not possible [to apply for settled status] within the normal procedures."

This contradicts what was said only three months previous when, in October 2019, Home Office minister Brandon Lewis told German newspaper, Die Welt :

"If EU citizens until this point of time have not registered and have no adequate reason for it, then the valid immigration rules will be applied."

The Guardian reported at the time that when pressed on whether that would include those who met the legal requirements for residence but did not apply by the deadline, he replied:

"Theoretically yes. We will apply the rules."

However, in January 2020, Mr. Lewis said deporting EU citizens who have not applied for settled status "is not what we're about".

No wonder EU/EEA nationals are feeling vulnerable.

Another Windrush-like Scandal?

One of the biggest fears of EU/EEA campaign groups such as 3Million is that, like many victims of the Windrush scandal, vulnerable people who need to apply for Pre-Settled or Settled Status will fall through the cracks.

Labour MP Daniel Zeichner told The Independent:

"EU nationals all over the country will have already drawn the comparisons for themselves.

"The Home Office cannot make our current immigration system work, so there is no prospect of creating a massively more complicated system for many, many more people, and to have it in place and working anytime soon.

"The treatment of the Windrush generation by Theresa May's Government has been despicable. The only good that can come is if they now acknowledge the harm they have done, fix it, and back off doing the same to yet more people."

EU/EEA nationals who have learning disabilities, mental health issues, and/or difficulty understanding English are extremely vulnerable to being missed off the Settled Status scheme. They could easily find themselves being denied medical care, be unable to find employment or access benefits in the future – as happened with those caught up in the Windrush scandal. And sadly, some Windrush victims were wrongly deported, and tragically died before the mistake could be rectified so they could return home.

Denying Those Convicted of a Criminal Offence Entry into the UK

On 13 July 2020, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel published documents that showed how the post-Brexit immigration system will work. They reveal that people who have been handed a custodial sentence of 12 months or more will be refused entry into the country. Furthermore, foreign nationals in the UK who have received a prison sentence of 12 months or more will be considered for deportation.

These new rules will include EU/EEA nationals.

The Home Office document states:

"A robust and consistent approach to applying the UK criminality thresholds for the refusal of entry, permission to remain in the UK, deportation, and exclusion, to EU and non-EU citizens, will be taken as part of the Points-Based System.

"Where the 12-month criminality deportation threshold is not met, a foreign criminal will still be considered for deportation where it is conducive to the public good, including where they have serious or persistent criminality.

"For EU citizens who are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement or the UK's domestic implementation of the withdrawal agreements, the tougher UK criminality thresholds will apply to conduct committed after the end of the transition period.

"The EU public policy, public security or public health test will continue to apply to their conduct committed before the end of the transition period."

An Uncertain Future

The stark fact is that from 1 January 2021, EU/EEA nationals will be subject to the same immigration rules as every other non-Settled person. And the treatment of migrants under the Home Office's 'hostile environment' policy has been harsh. For example:

  • Indefinite Leave to Remain applicants who made a mistake on their tax return has been refused leave to remain under Paragraph 322 (5) of the Immigration Rules, a section originally targeted at terrorists and those who pose a threat to public safety.
  • Thousands of children are growing up without one of their parents due to the Minimum Income Threshold of at least £18,600 required to obtain a Spouse or Unmarried Partner Visa.
  • Despite a Court of Appeal decision ordering the deportation of 50 people to Jamaica in early February, the Home Office still allowed the flight to depart the day after the ruling, with 17 deportees on board. This was despite the fact there were concerns that mobile phone outages had prevented detainees from having access to legal advice.
  • Figures released in 2019 revealed that 52% of Home Office immigration decisions are overturned when challenged in Court. Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary at the time stated, "These data clearly show that under this government, most immigration decisions that go to appeal were initially wrong, even though there is hardly any legal aid available to claimants."

Although the British government has offered assurance that EU nationals will not be deported arbitrarily, this stance may change if the country faces severe economic hardship or a sudden crisis in the future. The best way for EU/EEA nationals to secure their future is to not only apply for Settled Status but also British Citizenship. Citizenship cannot be removed (unless there are extreme circumstances), nor be lost. It provides an iron-clad certainty that regardless of the political and economic landscape, you cannot be denied your right to live in the UK – your home.

Related article: What will happen to EU National Family Members after Brexit

Some of our Happy Clients

Reiss Edwards Awards

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Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated
Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge
ACQ5 Awards Award ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated Three Best Rated
Department For International Development Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge University Of Cambridge

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

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"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

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"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

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"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

Richard Stone

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Fong Li

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Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

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"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them".

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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Jesse Lee

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