A British man is deported from Denmark because he didn’t know he had to apply to stay in the country after Brexit.
Will Hill, 37, was ordered to leave Sunday. His application for residency, submitted three weeks late, had been rejected, as had an appeal to immigration authorities.
He will return to London on Friday, leaving behind his cyber security career and his fiancee, Ida Bøgelund Larsen, who said the decision had left her “concerned and confused and nervous”. The wedding they planned for January is now in doubt.
He said: “This wouldn’t be happening to me if it wasn’t for Brexitbecause I would be treated as an EU citizen.”
Hill’s case came to light two weeks after another British national, Philip Russell, told how he too faced deportation. Like Hill, he only knew after the deadline that he had to apply to stay in Denmark after Brexit and was ordered to leave by December 6 on the grounds that his application was four days late.
He called on the British government to “condemn Denmark’s behaviour”. “Denmark is using the incompetence of their own immigration services as an excuse to deport British citizens,” he said.
Liberal EU rapporteur Mads Fuglede said the cases were a breach of the withdrawal agreement and called on the Danish immigration department, SIRI, to reconsider the cases of the estimated 290 Britons who applied late for their Brexit papers.
He told the Politiken newspaper that communication from SIRI to British citizens about the need to reapply for residency for post-Brexit life was “unsatisfactory and not working”.
Hill, who voted to remain in the Brexit referendum, said he had no choice but to return to his parents’ home in Surrey. He now plans to apply for a visa under the family reunification rules and hopes that he will not miss his wedding, which is planned for the end of January in Denmark.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, any EU citizen in the UK or British citizen of an EU member state can remain in the country with residence, employment and social security rights. Denmark set a deadline of December 31, 2021 for residency applications, but both Russell and Hill say they have not received any notification.
“Other than me being in a coma and saying I didn’t realize I had to do this, there doesn’t seem to be any way around this,” Hill said.
When his application was initially rejected, he appealed after requests for proof of settled life and work in Denmark.
“They asked me to give so much information about my work, my personal life, my relationship with my partner, everything. They even asked me to give pictures of me and Ida, and in the end they refused because I missed a deadline . They were not at all interested in the fact that I have integrated into the country, that I work full time, that I pay my taxes,” he said.
A SIRI spokesman said they could not comment on individual cases. She said the department had made every effort to ensure the application process was as easy as possible and the government had launched “information campaigns with comprehensive information on the implications of Brexit and guidance on how to apply”.
SIRI said it had received 290 late applications, suggesting many British nationals now face deportation.
The Foreign Office said the British government had run a major campaign to inform British nationals about the impact of Brexit and that more than 18,000 British nationals had applied for post-Brexit residency in Denmark.
“The Danish authorities will accept delayed applications if there is a reasonable reason to miss the deadline,” says a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.