The number of EU citizens being detailed at UK immigration centres has increased fivefold since 2010, when the Conservative government came into power.
According to the Home Office, the figures suggest the government is simply getting tougher when it comes to the deportation of foreign offenders, but critics have accused the government of being motivated by “politics, not policing”.
Figures have revealed that just under 1,300 EU nationals were detained in the third quarter of 2017, compared with just 242 when the coalition took control of the government in 2010.
The statistics showed that the majority of EU nationals who entered UK immigration centres between July and September 2017 were from Eastern European EU8 countries, while the second largest group were from the EU2 countries.
Commenting on the figures, MSP Christina McKelvie, chair of Holyrood’s human rights committee, suggested her party finds these figures “staggering”.
“Of course in some cases there is a justification for some people being detained and removed – but the massive rise and some of the reported cases are deeply concerning,” she said.
“The people that are being detained have the legal right to live and work in the UK, and they simply should not be being held in immigration centres like the hated Dungavel for months on end.”