No, EU citizens won’t be exempt from post-Brexit criminal checks

An article in the Daily Telegraph wrongly claimed that European citizens who currently reside in the UK will not be subject to international criminal checks after Brexit. EURACTIV.com looks into the story as part of the “Fact or Fake” series, in partnership with France 24.

Will the UK grant residency permits to “violent criminals” after Brexit because they have European citizenship?

This is the suggestion in an article by the Daily Telegraph, which claims that the 4 million Europeans who currently reside in the UK will not be subject to international criminal checks after Brexit.

The assertion is misleading, however, although it does contain bits of truth.

On the one hand, it is true that the residency procedure will be simplified for European nationals after Brexit. This was one of the key demands by Brussels regarding the rights of citizens who already reside legally in Britain.

But what the article does not say is that European nationals will also have to provide proof of their identity, show evidence of their residence in the UK and declare any serious criminal offences committed in the past.

Applicants will be asked about their criminal history in the UK as well as overseas and will also be checked against the UK’s national police database.

And in case of suspicion, the UK authorities will be entitled to ask for additional information from their European neighbours.

At the end of the day – and contrary to claims by the Daily Telegraph – the whole procedure will allow authorities to make a detailed screening of all Europeans currently residing in Britain – and if necessary, to expel convicted criminals.

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