Over 60% of EU citizens stopped at ports by the UK after Brexit are Romanians | Immigration and Asylum

Over 60% of EU citizens stopped and questioned at ports by British border officials after Brexit. Romania, the numbers showed, prompting questions from lawyers about potential racial profiling.

Data from the government shows that in the first six months of the year, 7,249 people were stopped either at ferry ports or on Eurotunnel and Eurostar transport, vehicle and train services.

The numbers represent a fivefold increase over the same period in 2020 when freedom of movement between EU member states remained in effect for all who were legitimately seeking work in another country.

The layovers were divided into two categories: those in UK ports including the likes of Portsmouth, Dover, Harwich and Holyhead, and what are known as “side-by-side controls” that take place at French sites where British officials work, including the Gare du Nord for Eurostar and Coquelles for Eurotunnel and ferry ports in Calais and Dunkirk.

Of those arrested in the first six months of 2021, 4,482 were from Romania, dwarfing the figures for neighboring Bulgaria, of which 600 were arrested, and 400 interrogated from Poland.

And citizens of northern European countries were hardly affected by the new immigration controls, with only five Danes, 59 from Belgium, and 144 from France defying by border officials.

Law firm Bates Wells, which analyzed the numbers, said that while the data could reflect disproportionately larger numbers of Romanians trying to enter the country after freedom of movement ended, they raised questions about potential racial profiling at the border.

“It is legitimate to conduct public checks with the aim of controlling illegal immigration, but these latest numbers raise the question of where a core agenda lies.

These types of stops can be painful, and there is a risk that immigration officers may target innocent people. “Racial profiling is discriminatory and should be nipped in the bud if it occurs,” said Sheetal Patel, immigration attorney and partner at Bates Wells.

The data has been published on Gov.ukIt does not provide a breakdown of nationalities returning or coming to the UK for the first time in 2021 or give figures for arrivals through airports.

The explanatory notes state that “not all individuals will be held in a freezer” and “some will then be granted entry to the UK, others granted entry on immigration bail conditions, and others denied entry”.

One explanation could be a lack of awareness or confusion about the change in the rules on January 1. Another possible reason for stopping large numbers of Romanians could be people who have settled or previously settled to stay in the UK and return after the absence of Christmas, Easter or lockdown.

As of June 30, data from the Ministry of the Interior shows that the Romanians were the The second largest category of applicants With 1.067 million from the country. Although 1.09 million Polish citizens applied for the settlement plan, the data shows much lower stop numbers.

While visas are not necessary for visits of up to 90 days, or for those who were already living in the country with pre-settled or settled status, border officials were accused of atrocities earlier this year after it was found that they were detaining Union citizens. European take short trips to visit friends, family or partners.

The Guardian reported in May that EU citizens Sent to immigration deportation centers They were held in detention rooms at the airport.

“There is clearly work to be done in educating people about what to expect, so that they don’t get caught up in it,” Patel said.

The Ministry of Interior has been contacted for comment.

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