A Briton is deported from Denmark because he did not know he had to apply to stay in the country after Brexit.
Will Hill, 37, was ordered to leave on Sunday. His application for residence, filed three weeks late, had been rejected, as had an appeal to the immigration authorities.
He will return to London on Friday, leaving behind his career in cybersecurity and his fiancée, Ida Bøgelund Larsen, who said the decision left her “worried, confused and nervous”. The wedding they had planned in January is now in doubt.
He said: ‘It wouldn’t happen to me without Brexit because I would be treated like an EU citizen.
Hill’s case came to light two weeks after another British national, Philip Russell, told how he too was at risk of deportation. Like Hill, he only learned 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 the behavior of Denmark”. “Denmark is using the incompetence of its own immigration services as an excuse to deport British citizens,” he said.
European Liberal Party spokesman Mads Fuglede said the cases were a breach of the Withdrawal Agreement and called on Denmark’s immigration department, SIRI, to review the cases of the approximately 290 Britons who have applied their Brexit documents late.
He told the Politiken newspaper that SIRI’s communication to British nationals about the need to reapply for residency rights for post-Brexit life was “unsatisfactory and not working”.
Hill, who voted to stay 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 family reunification rules and hopes not to miss his wedding, scheduled for late January in Denmark.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, any EU citizen in the UK or British citizen in an EU member state could stay in the country with residency, employment and social protection rights. Denmark has set a December 31, 2021 deadline for residency applications, but Russell and Hill say they have not received any communication to that effect.
“Beyond being in a coma and saying I wasn’t aware I had to do this, there doesn’t seem to be any way around it,” Hill said.
When his application was initially rejected, he appealed in accordance with demands for evidence of stable living and working in Denmark.
“They asked me to provide so much information about my work, my personal life, my relationship with my partner, everything. They even asked me to provide photos of me and Ida, and in the end they rejected it because I missed a deadline. They weren’t at all interested in me having integrated into the country, working full time, paying my taxes,” he said. he says.
A spokesperson for SIRI said it could not comment on individual cases. She said the department had done “everything possible” to ensure that the application process was as simple as possible and that the government had launched “information campaigns with detailed information on the consequences of Brexit and the advice on how to apply”.
SIRI said it received 290 late applications, suggesting many UK nationals are now at risk of deportation.
The Foreign Office said the British government had run a major campaign to inform British nationals of the impact of Brexit and that more than 18,000 British nationals had applied for post-Brexit residency rights in Denmark.
“Danish authorities will accept late applications if there are reasonable grounds for missing the deadline,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.