Last week saw the UK criticised for its deportation practices. The Independent reported that the European Commission was investigating the sharp rise in detention and deportation of EU citizens from the UK since Brexit. In the year ending June 2015, 5 301 EU nationals were removed from the UK, a 20% increase from the previous year.
While the UK government insists these deportations are linked to criminal offences, charity Bail for Immigration claims EU citizens are sometimes detained and deported for relatively minor offences, like driving infractions. Part of these deportations are also linked to a crackdown on migrant rough sleepers, a policy we recently wrote about and which is under challenge in the High Court.
The UK has also been singled out by Amnesty International as one of the European countries that has sent back the most asylum seekers from Afghanistan. An Amnesty International report notes a worrying trend across EU countries of denying asylum to young Afghans. As picked up by The Guardian, the rate of recognition of asylum applications from Afghanistan dropped from 68% to 33% in the EU between 2015 and 2016, while the number of Afghans deported tripled to nearly 9500 people. This is despite acknowledgment by the EU and the UN that the security situation in Afghanistan is not improving – and may in fact be worsening.
The UK has deported the most Afghan nationals of all EU countries after Germany, Greece and Sweden. In particular, the UK has returned more than 2000 unaccompanied young Afghans who sought asylum as children between 2007 and 2015. As recently noted, young migrants often have their age questioned, which can lead to care services being denied along with their refugee status.