Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Foretaste of End of Freedom of Movement in the EU: EU Citizen Detention Letters Sent in Error.

with 10 comments

Dr Eva Johanna Holmberg

Eva Johanna Holmberg, one of those targeted by 100 deportation letters sent in error to EU citizens living in the UK.

This morning those of us who are pro-Freedom of Movement, and back, for example, the Labour Campaign for Freedom of Movement, received urgent E-Mails.



It turns out this was an ‘error’, but this mistake gives us a foretaste of what life under Brexit is going to be like.

EU citizen detention letters sent in error.

The BBC reports.

The Home Office sent about 100 letters “in error” to EU citizens living in the UK, telling them they were liable for “detention”.

The mistake emerged after a Finnish academic, who has the right to live in the UK, received one of the letters.

Dr Eva Johanna Holmberg, who is married to a British citizen, was told she had a month to leave.

A Home Office spokesperson said “the rights of EU nationals living in the UK remain unchanged”.

Everyone who received a letter would be contacted to “clarify that they can disregard it”, they said.

“A limited number of letters were issued in error and we have been urgently looking into why this happened,” the spokesperson added.

Dr Holmberg, who works at London’s Queen Mary University, had originally applied for a “qualified person certificate” before receiving the letter.

These registration certificates – for citizens from the European Economic Area or Swiss nationals – confirm the right to live in the UK for those who meet certain criteria.

The historian said the “absurd nonsense” had made her “even less likely” to trust politicians in the wake of Brexit.

‘Shame Britain’

James McGrory, executive director of the pro-EU group Open Britain, said: “This is shameful stuff from the same department that gave us the disgraceful ‘go home’ vans a few years ago.

“It’s little wonder that many EU citizens feel worried about their future status in the UK when they hear of people with every right to be here getting letters threatening their deportation.”

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Ed Davey said the letters “shame Britain”.

“EU nationals who have made their lives here are already facing huge uncertainty over Brexit. It is appalling that some are now being officially threatened with deportation,” he said.

He called for Home Secretary Amber Rudd to personally apologise to those affected and to ensure they are reimbursed for any legal costs incurred because of the letters.

The pro-Brexit left has many who heartily agree with ending freedom of movement in the UK, comparing regulating labour movement – that is people’ s right to residence and work – to union power exercised in closed shops.

Others claim that they enthusiastically backed Brexit because they want a revolution against EU ‘neoliberalism’, and see it as a step to ending all control on migration, and a move to join their comrades on other planets who are already enjoying the actuality of the revolution.

Well, this is a monstrous injustice and our hearts go out to those put in fear by this ‘error’.

Sanction the bastards who did this, hard!

Written by Andrew Coates

August 23, 2017 at 3:56 pm

10 Responses

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  1. […] However, for a seemingly anti-semitic and anti-EU immigrant party, would the loss of one racist really make a […]

  2. This may have been an “error”, but it’s surely a sign of things to come: a nastier, more insular and racist UK. Are those “leftists” who advocated a Leave vote proud of their handiwork?

    Jim Denham

    August 23, 2017 at 8:39 pm

  3. Shall we put the whole thing in perspective? The letter was a mistake and she’s not going to be deported. Nothing to see, move on.

    Dave Roberts

    August 24, 2017 at 5:42 am

  4. You’re wrong Dave: that such a “mistake” could happen at all is symptomatic of the new atmosphere of officially-sanctioned xenophobia, racism ushered in by the Leave campaign and the Brexit vote. This should have been obvious at the time, and is certainly unavoidable now. Those “leftists” who advocated Leave were, and are either idiots (Morning Star, etc) or irresponsible opportunists (SP) or both (SWP).

    By the way, will this woman be getting her £3,800 legal costs reimbursed by the government?

    Jim Denham

    August 24, 2017 at 10:00 am

  5. Are housing associations who have a deliberate policy of giving priority to ‘incomers’ over the indigenous population when it comes to lettings ‘racist’ or are they just being ‘politically correct’? You can decide! But the members of the indigenous who are struggling by in inadequate private sector housing have already decided and that is why we are heading for Brexit. Let us not kid ourselves!

    Fly Fawkes

    August 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

  6. Jesus wept! Is this blog sponsored by the Daily Mail?

    Lord Rothermere

    August 24, 2017 at 11:12 am

  7. With the Tories in disarray on how to conduct Brexit negotiations with their increasingly frustrated European Union counterparts, the labour movement debate about how to approach Brexit is also hotting up. A welcome recent development is the launch of the Labour Campaign for Free Movement (LCFM) on 4 August with the prominent support of Labour MPs Clive Lewis and David Lammy.

    More than 2,000 people from across the labour movement have now signed the founding statement, which aims to reshape the immigration debate in the Labour Party and wider working-class communities. At the moment, the upper hand in that debate is held by people from the Morning Star tradition of a “British road to socialism” and hostility to the EU. These people oppose free movement saying it is just a tool of neoliberal bosses for driving down wages. Regrettably, they seem to have persuaded Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to sing their tune.

    Jeremy Corbyn has recently made several statements that suggest free movement for European workers is simply a conspiracy by British employers aimed at undercutting pay and conditions for British-born workers. That idea is mythical. There is scant evidence that migrant labour undercuts wages; in reality, EU migrant workers fill vacancies in the jobs market for low-skilled labour that longer-settled workers prefer not to do. Recent labour shortages in the NHS, currently employing around 60,000 EU migrant workers, have highlighted the problem; without EU workers many sectors of UK life would be severely disrupted.

    LCFM hits back at the idea that free movement and immigration undercut wages. The campaign’s founding statement says: “A system of free movement is the best way to protect and advance the interests of all workers, by giving everyone the right to work legally, join a union and stand up to their boss without fear of deportation or destitution. Curtailing those rights, or limiting migrants’ access to public services and benefits, will make it easier for unscrupulous employers to hyper-exploit migrant labour, which in turn undermines the rights and conditions of all workers.”

    The debate is going on among the unions with different unions lining up on different sides of the argument. At the LCFM launch, Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), said: “We are fully committed to challenging and fighting unscrupulous bosses who exploit EU migrants. We put the blame firmly on the perpetrators not the victims. We strongly believe that free movement enriches our society. Our slogan is powerful but simple, end workers’ exploitation, not free movement.”

    The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) took a position of supporting Brexit in the referendum, but is backing the LCFM: “Our union backed Brexit, but that doesn’t mean scrapping freedom of movement. We can only improve the lives of our members, like those planning strike action at McDonalds, through solidarity.”

    Among those on the other side of the debate stands Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB, who argues for staying in the single market but marrying it with immigration control, claiming that migrant workers have been driving down the pay of some of his union members. He is wrong, and those who think so should be vociferous in taking him on. A motion supporting freedom of movement has been submitted to Labour Party conference in September.

    Right-wing politicians of UKIP and the Conservative right have made the perceived threat to British workers from EU migrant labour a hot political issue. In some areas of traditional Labour support — though perhaps remarkably few — this has lost Labour some political support. But it is Labour’s job to make the counter-arguments, to unite British born and foreign born workers against the employers that set out to exploit them all.

    Labour Campaign for Free Movement statement

    The Labour Campaign for Free Movement statement says: “The UK is at a crossroads in its relationship to the rest of the world, and so is our party.

    “Immigrants and free movement are being scapegoated by a political and economic elite that is subjecting ordinary people to cuts and austerity. During the greatest refugee crisis in recent years, the Tories have responded with brutality and detention centres.

    “Labour should respond with clarity, humanity and solidarity. We fought the last General Election arguing against such scapegoating, and celebrating the contributions of migrants to our society. That tone must now translate into policy.

    “Migrants are not to blame for falling wages, insecurity, bad housing and overstretched public services. These are the product of decades of underinvestment, deregulation, privatisation, and the harshest anti-union laws in Europe. On the contrary, migrant workers have been on the front line of fighting for better pay and working conditions. Labour is the party of all working people — regardless of where they were born.

    “A system of free movement is the best way to protect and advance the interests of all workers, by giving everyone the right to work legally, join a union and stand up to their boss without fear of deportation or destitution.”


    Andrew Coates

    August 24, 2017 at 12:11 pm

  8. Andrew Coates

    August 24, 2017 at 4:15 pm

  9. A Civil Servant writing a letter like this would base it on a template reflecting official Govt immigration policy. The only “error” would be is that it is not yet the official policy but one that has been prepared for a “no deal Brexit”. Namely, it shows what kind of extreme anti-immigration policy the Tories are prepared to carry out if the EU27 don’t accede to their “cake and eat it Brexit” demands.

    John Rogan

    August 24, 2017 at 10:39 pm

  10. “Error, Theresa May’s skinny arse! It has been released on purpose either as a trial balloon to test public and political reaction to a policy of the UK kicking out residents from other European countries post-Brexit or as a (semi-) bluff to force the hand of the EU regarding the Brexit negotiations.

    Poker Face

    August 25, 2017 at 1:40 pm

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