The number of EU nationals who have been prevented from entering the UK has risen by a third, according to new data shared with City A.M. this morning.
As the Home Office is stepping up controls, the number of European nationals stopped at the border climbed to 5,266 in the third quarter of last year, compared to 3,955 the previous quarter, City law firm Bates Wells found.
Romanian nationals account for the overwhelming majority of EU nationals turned away (56 per cent of the total number), followed by Bulgarians (10 per cent) and Polish nationals (7 per cent).
The Home Office is progressively tightening border controls since January 1st 2021. Since the UK left the EU, 12,515 EU nationals have been stopped at the UK border, compared to just 1,150 in the same period the previous year.
Stops are likely to occur if for instance, border officials have reason to believe that an EU national is entering the UK with the intent to work and is not in possession of the relevant immigration status.
Thee numbers suggest that EU nationals from Eastern European countries may be being scrutinised by border officials more closely than other EU nationalities when attempting to enter the UK, according to Chetal Patel, partner at Bates Wells.
“In the eyes of the law, all EU nationals should be treated equally. The fact that Romanians and other Eastern European nationalities continue to be disproportionately impacted, does indicate that some profiling may be taking place,” she added.
“The steep rise in EU nationals being stopped suggests that the Home Office is taking a hard-line approach and asking more questions than usual.”Chetal Patel
“Being subjected to intense questioning can be a distressing experience. Many of the people who have been stopped are likely to have been trying to visit the UK for legitimate reasons, such as visiting friends or family. These latest figures don’t help the UK’s international reputation.”
EU nationalities stopped at the UK border