Data published recently by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, reveals that about 2,250 UK citizens were ordered to leave EU countries between 2020 and September 2022 – this includes both people ordered to leave because their immigration paperwork was not in order and those deported for other reasons, such as recently released prisoners.
But France, despite having one of the highest populations of UK nationals in the EU, was responsible for only a tiny fraction of the orders to leave.
Of the 2,250 British nationals ordered to leave EU countries between the first quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2022, Sweden is responsible for 1,050 of them.
The Netherlands follows with 615 orders to leave. Norway and Switzerland, which are not part of the EU and have separate Brexit agreements with the UK, issued 455 and 125 departure orders respectively, according to Eurostat data.
Malta ordered 115 UK citizens to leave, France 95, Belgium 65, Denmark 40, Germany 25 and Austria 10.
Spain, which hosts the biggest UK community in the EU, has not ordered any Briton to leave the country since Brexit, and nor did Italy – at least according to the Eurostat data.
The countries did not provide data on the reasons for the expulsions, and it is not possible to compare the numbers to pre-Brexit figures because Brits at that time were not counted as third country nationals.
The data from Sweden correlates with research from our sister site The Local Sweden, which showed that large numbers of Brits were either denied the right to stay after Brexit or were ordered to leave if their post-Brexit paperwork was not in order.
The Local Denmark has also reported cases of Brits being ordered to leave the country for missing deadlines for post-Brexit paperwork.
France, on the other hand, seems to be taking a more relaxed approach so far. Data from September 2021 (when the deadline to make the application had passed but the deadline to be in possession of the card had not), showed that 2,200 of 162,100 applications for the post-Brexit carte de séjour were refused. Organisations dealing with Brits have reported that several of these were granted on appeal and some were due to incorrect filing of the application.
Brits who were living in France before December 31st 2020 had until January 1st 2022 to get their carte de séjour, after several extensions to the deadlines.
However, because France does not require residency permits for EU nationals, it is not possible to know how many Brits were living in France before Brexit, and therefore how many people have failed to hit the deadline to get the residency permit.
The Franco-British Network, which received UK government funding to help vulnerable people deal with their paperwork, has reported only a handful of cases of people who missed the deadline, and feedback suggests that local préfectures are still willing to process the paperwork for people who have missed the deadline.
However, it is likely that things will get stricter as more time passes, with people who do not have the correct paperwork likely to encounter difficulties in accessing healthcare or social security, and with travelling.
Eurostat’s data also includes figures for the number of Brits refused entry to the EU – however this covers 2021 only, a period when strict Covid-related rules were in place for much of the year. The data does not distinguish between people refused entry for immigration reasons and those refused entry because they could not supply the Covid-related paperwork (negative tests, travel attestations, essential reasons for travel etc) that were in place at the time.
In total 139,000 non-EU citizens were refused entry into the EU at one of its external borders, of these, 4,470 (3.2 per cent) were UK citizens.
France was responsible for more than half, 2,610, and UK nationals were almost 32 per cent of non-EU citizens blocked at the French external border (8,210 in total). The Netherlands refused entry to 995 Brits, who represented 26.6 per cent of all third-country nationals denied access to the country.
This data broadly correlates with passenger numbers, since the France border has by far the highest number of entries from the UK, including many people who are travelling onwards to other EU countries by road or rail.
This article was produced in cooperation with Europe Street News