A YOUNG woman from Valencia has been detained at a foreigners’ internment centre near London for failing to obtain EU Settlement status before travelling.
Identified as Maria (not her real name, which has been withheld to preserve her anonymity), the 25-year-old flew from Valencia Manises to Gatwick this week.
Reports suggest that she had already been working in the UK for several months in 2019 and has family in the capital.
According to a friend of hers who reported the incident on social media, UK border control officers checked her negative PCR test, passport and reasons for travelling – namely work.
Everything was in order, even her National Insurance Number that was still valid from the time she worked in London two years ago.
Things took a turn for the worse when the officials found that Maria had not applied for EU Settlement, a new requirement for all EU citizens looking to live permanently in the UK beyond June 30 this year.
Maria was then reportedly informed that she had entered the country ‘irregularly’ and was taken to a holding room in the airport along with several other European travellers, without her mobile phone which had allegedly been confiscated, until their situation was sorted out.
It seems Maria offered to buy a ticket for the next flight back to Spain, which the British border authorities refused and informed her that, if she had to be deported, they would carry out the procedure themselves.
According to the report published by her friend Oriol, the authorities contacted the young woman’s family and gave them the telephone number of the room where she was being kept.
However, when a relative attempted to call Maria there, they were told that she had already been transferred to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) in Bedfordshire, a clearing station for adult immigrants.
Oriol reports that his friend was forced to stay at the IRC for at least 72 hours until she is granted an interview with the Home Office to clarify her situation.
The incident was reported on Tuesday (May 4), meaning the meeting should take place tomorrow (Friday).
The Olive Press will keep an eye on any developments to this story over the coming days. For further information on the EU Settlement Scheme, visit https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
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