THE Home Office has been forced to apologise to 100 EU nationals who were wrongly sent letters warning them they faced deportation.
The error came to light when Eva Johanna Holmberg tweeted: ‘Home Office wants to deport a Finnish academic who is married to a Brit and pays taxes in Britain, i.e. me.’
Dr Holmberg, a visiting fellow at Queen Mary University of London, was told she had a month to leave and was ‘liable to be detained’.
It then emerged that up to 100 other EU nationals had been sent similar letters. A Home Office spokesman said they ‘were issued in error and we have been urgently looking into why this happened. We are contacting everyone who received this letter to clarify that they can disregard it. The rights of EU nationals living in the UK remain unchanged.’
Critics said the blunder would further fuel concern among the 3.2million EU citizens living in Britain about their status after Brexit. James McGrory, of Open Britain, said: ‘It’s little wonder that many EU citizens feel worried about their future status.’
Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey said the letters ‘shame Britain’. He said the ‘catastrophic error’ was ‘a sign of the chaos and incompetence’ at the heart of government. Historian Dr Holmberg described her experience as a ‘Kafkaesque nightmare’.
Last night Theresa May said the Home Office had made an ‘unfortunate error,’ adding: ‘I want to assure EU nationals here in the UK that their rights and status in the UK have not changed.’