April 06, 2023
The Swedish Migration Agency has put the deportation of an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s “on hold” pending a doctor’s assessment of her health, the woman’s family said on Wednesday.
Kathleen Poole and her now deceased husband moved to Sweden 18 years ago to be near her son. Photograph: Angelica Poole
By AFP/The Local
The decision to deport 74-year-old Kathleen Poole, which has sparked outrage in the UK, had however not been repealed.
The case is one of many post-Brexit deportations of British nationals living in EU countries, with Sweden making up nearly half of them.
According to EU statistics agency Eurostat Sweden has ordered the deportation of 1,100 British nationals since Brexit, out of 2,630 Britons ordered to leave an EU or EEA country.
Swedish police last week asked the UK embassy to find a care home ready to receive and care for her in her home country.
But authorities later decided to suspend the deportation, pending the family providing new documents attesting to the old woman’s health.
In an email to the family, viewed by AFP, the UK embassy to Sweden said the Migration Agency “received a request at the end of March to stop the deportation”.
The embassy added that while the request was being processed “the planning for the deportation continues as before, but the actual execution of the deportation is placed on hold”.
The British woman came to Sweden in 2004 to be closer to her son, daughter-in-law and their four children.
But her application to stay in Sweden – a process that became compulsory for British citizens residing in Sweden following Brexit – was rejected because her passport had not been renewed since 2018, which her family said had not been done as her illness prevented any travel.
The Briton has spent the last 10 years in a care home.
“She’s in bed having round-the-clock care. It is not right. You don’t deport someone who is as sick as she is,” her daughter-in-law Angelica Poole told AFP.
Asked for comment, the migration agency said it was unable to discuss individual cases.
The case has sparked ire in the UK with Labour MP Hilary Benn describing it as “deeply shocking,” according to newspaper The Guardian.
In early February, The Local alerted Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard to Sweden’s high deportation figures, which she in an interview with us described as “complete news” to her. She promised to look into them, saying that “we want them [Brits] here”.
We have since then repeatedly reached out to her office for further comments.