In Numbers: Hundreds of Britons across Europe given orders to leave

Claudia Delpero, Europe Street
Claudia Delpero, Europe Street - [email protected]
In Numbers: Hundreds of Britons across Europe given orders to leave
Hundreds of Britons given orders to leave by European countries in 2023. Photo by John Thys / AFP

Countries across Europe ordered more than 1,000 Britons to leave their territories in 2023, according to recent data from EU stats agency.


In total EU countries plus Schengen area countries including Norway and Switzerland ordered 1,040 British citizens to leave their territories in the first nine months of 2023, according to data published at the end of December by the EU statistical office, Eurostat.

In the 27 EU countries alone the number of orders to leave administered to UK nationals from January to September last year was 825. To give some context there were over 12,000 Indian nationals ordered to leave EU countries during the same period.

Orders to leave are typically issued to people who fail to meet residency or visa requirements, and are therefore considered to be illegally present in the country. They are also administered to people who committed certain serious crimes.

The Local reported in January 2023 how more than 2,800 Britons had received orders to leave European countries since Brexit.

With the 2023 figures added on it means that almost 4,000 British nationals have been issued orders to leave by EU and Schengen area countries since Brexit. Figures for pre-Brexit were not recorded given the UK was a member of the EU.

In 2023 the number of orders to leave continued with certain countries handing out scores of orders whilst other countries reported zero Britons had been asked to leave. 

According to provisional data from Eurostat the EU countries that issued the largest number of orders to leave to UK citizens in the first nine months of last year were the Netherlands (275), and Sweden (135).

Whilst the number for the Netherlands is far higher than elsewhere authorities have previously said that when a residency application is rejected or a permit is withdrawn, the person ordered to leave can still apply for a residence permit or appeal the decision, so the final number is likely to be lower than the figure given.


Sweden’s figure of 135 for the first 9 months of 2023 compares to 385 leave orders to UK citizens in the whole of 2022, so quite a big drop.

But Norway, which is not a European Union member but is part of the free movement area with the EU, saw a rise in the number of reported orders to leave issued. Oslo ordered 215 Britons to leave in the first nine months of 2023 compared with 130 in the whole of 2022.

Among other countries, France demanded 100 British citizens leave the country between January and September 2023, Denmark 55, Belgium and Latvia 40, Finland 35, Malta 25, Germany and Greece 15, and Austria 5.

Spain, which hosts the biggest UK community in the EU, has not reported any Britons being ordered to leave last year, nor did Italy or Switzerland, according to the Eurostat data.

Eurostat data is pulled from member states own reporting which may differ widely and explain some of the differences between countries. Eurostat's data is sometimes disputed with a country's own figures. For example last year Swedish authorities claimed the numbers presented by Eurostat were far higher than the real number of orders to leave handed out to Britons.

The trend shown by the latest Eurostat data suggests a slight decrease in the number of Britons ordered to leave EU countries compared to 2022, when the total was 1,270. But the figure for the full year of 2023 will be available only later in the spring.


Eurostat data does not specify the reasons why Britons were given the orders so it is not clear why exactly all these British nationals were asked to leave. It also doesn't make clear the residency status of those subject to the orders.

Overall, according to the EU statistical agency, more than 324,000 non-EU citizens were ordered to leave EU countries between January and September 2023, the largest number (over 102,000) being recorded in France.

Separate Eurostat data revealed that following an order to leave, some 470 British citizens were returned to the UK or another country between January and September last year.

Of these, 125 were deported by Sweden, 55 by Denmark and the Netherlands, 45 by Austria (provisional figure), 35 by France and Latvia, and 20 by Finland.

Norway returned 65 British nationals and Switzerland 5, while Germany, Italy and Spain did not return any.

This article was produced by Europe Street news.



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