Friday, 30 Jul 2021

Homeless foreigners face deportation after Brexit

Strict new measures post-Brexit could ban criminals from the EU entering Britain and see homeless migrants deported.

Home secretary Priti Patel will today reveal to Parliament her plans to crack down on EU nationals who break the law from January 1.

It means anyone who was given a prison sentence of 12 months or could be prevented from entering the UK, MailOnline reports.

‘For too long, EU rules have forced us to allow dangerous foreign criminals, who abuse our values and threaten our way of life, onto our streets,’ said the home secretary.

‘The UK will be safer thanks to firmer and fairer border controls where foreign criminals regardless of nationality will be subject to the same criminality rules.’

Existing EU rules mean Britain can only prevent EU criminals entering if they present a ‘serious and current threat’. But the home secretary plans to toughen up on this law.

But the new regulations partly rely on the UK retaining access to European criminal databases, and a deal has not yet been reached on this.

Also these powers would not apply to the four million people who have registered under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The measures will further allow the Home Office to deport people from the EU who sleep rough in the UK and who refuse help, or who commit crimes such as aggressive begging.

More than a quarter of rough sleepers in the UK are thought to be foreign nationals – with even more in London. Charity leaders are concerned the new plans may stop people from asking for help.

But it is reported these powers will be used ‘very sparingly and only as a last resort’ against homeless migrants who commit anti-social behaviour, or low-level crime which may not meet the normal criteria for deportation.

It will also allow the ‘tent cities’ which are set up across the country, such as in Park Lane in London, to be disbanded.

The changes mean EU criminals sentenced to more than a year in prison will be banned from entering the UK, compared with current rules which give a recent cut-off of more than four years.

The home secretary will also be given permission to refuse entry to foreign criminals sentenced to less than a year in jail, on a case-by-case basis. All offences will be taken into account, whether committed in the UK or abroad.

Criminals with no prison sentence could be banned if they are persistent offenders or if they risk causing ‘serious harm’, for example, if they are sex offenders.

Current regulations also mean old offences cannot be taken into account. For example, an EU national jailed for rape a decade ago cannot currently be refused entry if they have not re-offended since.

Under the new rules, that rapist could be banned from the UK. Anyone involved in sham marriages will also be refused entry.

Officials have however acknowledged there will be ‘some limited exceptions’ to the new powers.

Claims under the European Convention on Human Rights could delay deportation and rough sleepers who have signed up to retain their current status under the EU Settlement Scheme will not be affected.

But their status could be revoked if they commit a crime from January 1 which lands them in jail for 12 months or more.

Also the new regulations will be difficult to enforce if Britain loses access to European criminal records databases as it will be harder to identify offenders who arrive at the UK border.

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