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1ST LEAD British government apologizes for deportation threats to EU citizens By Bill Smith and Christoph Meyer, dpa

Europe
24.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
London (dpa) - The British government has apologized after sending about 100 letters informing European Union citizens that they were no longer entitled to remain in the country and must leave within one month or face deportation, the Home Office said on Wednesday.

The error came to light after Finnish citizen Eva Johanna Holmberg, a visiting historian at Queen Mary University of London, published details of the letter she received on social media.

"Home Office wants to deport a Finnish academic who is married to a Brit and pays taxes in Britain, i.e. me," Holmberg wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of an "unfortunate error" by the Home Office, saying: "I understand they moved quickly to contact the people who had received these letters and assure them they were not going to be deported and I want to assure EU nationals here in the UK that their rights and status in the UK have not changed."

A spokeswoman said the Home Office had apologized to people who received the letters and was investigating how they were mistakenly sent out.

"A limited number of letters were issued in error and we have been urgently looking into why this happened," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

"We are contacting everyone who received this letter to clarify that they can disregard it," she said. "We are absolutely clear that the rights of EU nationals living in the UK remain unchanged."

Some 3.2 million citizens of EU member countries live in Britain and currently do not need any separate residency permit or visa. The future of these Europeans in Britain after the country leaves the EU is one of many topics being negotiated between Brussels and London following last year‘s Brexit vote.

 

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