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UK apologizes for mistakenly threatening EU citizens with deportation

Nearly 100 letters were sent to EU citizens living legally in the UK threatening them with detention and deportation. The Home Office has said the "rights of EU nationals living in the UK remain unchanged."

The UK government issued an apology on Wednesday to some 100 EU citizens who mistakenly received deportation threats from the Home Office. The letters informed the recipients that they had one month to leave or be forcibly removed from the country.

The incident came to light after Finnish historian Eva Johanna Holmberg, who is working at Queen Mary University of London, posted the letter on social media.

"Home Office wants to deport a Finnish academic who is married to a Brit and pays taxes in Britain, i.e. me," Holmberg wrote on Twitter. The letter informed her that she was now considered "a person liable to be detained under the Immigration Act."

The error highlighted the stress currently felt by many European Union citizens now living in Britain who are still unsure of what their immigration status will be after Brexit.

Read more: UK ministers to release Brexit position papers amid criticism

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said that an official had spoken to Holmberg and to the scores of other European Union nationals who had received similar letters.

"A limited number of letters were issued in error and we have been urgently looking into why this happened," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

"We are contacting everyone who received this letter to clarify that they can disregard it," she added. "We are absolutely clear that the rights of EU nationals living in the UK remain unchanged."

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es/sms (AFP, dpa)

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