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UK to Ban From Entering EU Citizens With Criminal Past, After December 31

UK to Ban From Entering EU Citizens With Criminal Past, After December 31

European Union Citizens who have criminal records to a set extent will be banned from entering the territory of the United Kingdom after December 31, 2020.

The changes have been laid in Parliament today, October 22, by the UK Home Office, which though a press release noted that EU criminals could be barred from entering the UK under tougher border rules designed to make the country safer.

Currently, as an EU Member State, the UK has to allow some EU citizens with criminal past to enter the country due to the free movement agreement that the EU has in place between the Member States.

Beginning January 1, 2021, the UK intends to impose a firmer and fairer approach to the immigration system where people from across the world will be treated equally.

According to the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, up until now, the UK has been forced to permit dangerous foreign criminals, “who abuse the UK values and threaten its way of life” onto the streets. The new border controls that will prohibit entry for EU criminals will contribute to UK’s Safety, the Patel asserts.

EU rules currently require the Home Office to demonstrate that EU criminals present a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society in order to restrict their free movement rights. This decision cannot be based solely on the criminal conviction, even if it was for murder or rape,” she further explained

Under this decision, starting from January 1, EU citizens who have previously been jailed for at least a year will be banned from entering the UK, the same as other non-EU citizens.

As per criminals sentenced to less than a year, the Home Office will review each of their cases and criminal history and could also be banned, if the Home Office sees it necessary in order to ensure the safety of British citizens.

In addition, EU citizens who have never been jailed in the past could still be barred from entering the UK if:

  • the offending they have committed is persistent or causes serious harm
  • it is decided that their presence in the UK damages the public good
  • they have a criminal conviction of any kind in the past year

Exempt from the new rule will be only EU citizens protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, such as those with status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

However, if an individual who is protected by the Withdrawal Agreement commits crimes from January 1 2021, in the UK or overseas, their status could be revoked, for example, if that crime resulted in a prison sentence of at least a year,” the Home Office points out.

Starting from the same date, January 1, 2021, the UK police will also have more powers to protect the citizens, as the new Extradition Bill which is expected to receive Royal Assent today, will grant them the power to immediately detain internationally wanted criminals without having to apply for a UK arrest warrant first.