European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless: Increase in deportation of EU rough sleepers causes FEANTSA to reiterate call on European Commission to investigate the UK
As it was revealed by The Independent on Monday 11 September, the number of EU mobile citizens being removed from the UK has now increased five-fold since 2010. Official government data shows that there were 26 per cent more enforced removals of EU nationals in the first three months of 2017, than in the same period last year. Over the last 12 months, almost 5,000 EU citizens have been expelled from the UK. One of the main targets of these enforced removals are mobile EU citizens who sleep rough. Through the adoption of an unprecedented – at EU level – piece of legislation, the UK has made sleeping rough a sufficient reason to forcibly remove EU nationals. This implies that even those who are working but cannot afford a place to live, may be subject to administrative removal.
Besides criminalising homelessness and adopting myopic and xenophobic measures, the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) believes that the UK’s interpretation of free movement rights is unlawful. For this reason, together with the Migrants’ Rights Network and Praxis, three months ago it launched a complaint before the European Commission to challenge UK deportations and today reiterates its call to quickly act against an inadmissible violation of citizens’ rights.
In light of recent developments, which include revelations concerning the UK Home Office’s unlawful use of a charity data map to deport rough sleepers, and subsequent plans to significantly restrict immigration from Europe, FEANTSA calls on the European Commission to adequately address this issue by starting investigations. UK policies not only infringe EU citizens’ rights but also jeopardise the work of homelessness services which work daily with people who need support and, instead, see their situation becoming even more precarious.
Moreover, FEANTSA calls on the EU to be vigilant and prevent such measures being adopted by other EU Member States.