UK govt warned against deporting EU nationals, including Goans
A parliamentary report released on Monday warned the British government against plans to deport EU nationals residing in the UK which includes around 25,000 Goans who acquired Portuguese nationality.
The report, prepared by the House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights (JHCR) and led by Labour MP Harriet Harman, said “the government must not use human rights as a bargaining chip” and added that attempting to deport EU nationals could lead to months of “significant, expensive and lengthy litigation”.
It highlighted the continued uncertainty faced by the 2.9 million EU nationals living in the UK, which include an estimated 25,000 Goans who hold a European passport as a result of their Portuguese ancestry.
“The UK government could not deport the large numbers of EU nationals currently in the UK. In the unlikely and unwelcome event that the government sought to deport EU nationals, there could be the potential for significant, expensive and lengthy litigation, leading to considerable legal uncertainty for a prolonged period of time.
“These cases would have the potential to clog up and overwhelm the court system,” Harman warned in her report.
According to data from the Election Commission of India, 11,500 Goans surrendered their Indian passports in favour of Portuguese citizenship between January 31, 2008 and January 31, 2013. This figure is now estimated to be closer to 25,000. Majority of these Goans have settled in the UK.
Their fate now also hangs in balance along with other EU nationals who have made Britain their home over the years but are uncertain of the kind of residency rights they would have based on Britain’s exit deal from the European Union after the June 23 referendum favouring Brexit.
The report said the government would not be able to establish a rule that would allow the deportation of EU nationals merely on the grounds that they had only been resident for a fixed period of time.