Europeans need not apply: evidence mounts of discrimination in UK

The government equalities office is to examine growing evidence that EU nationals in the UK are being illegally prevented from renting or buying properties, getting jobs and booking holidays.

Nick Gibb, the equalities minister, said he was responding after Labour and the EU citizens’ rights campaign group the3million sent him a dossier of more than two dozen examples of job, housing and other adverts, many of which invite applications only from those with UK or Irish citizenship.

In a parliamentary answer, Gibb told MPs that he office “is aware of, and is looking into” reports of rising discrimination against EU nationals looking for work in the UK or buying and services after Brexit.

Campaigners repeatedly found job adverts that clearly specify that those applying must have British passports. Examples collected include an advert for a graduate sales executive in Bristol specifying German language skills but restricting the job to full UK passport holders. An advert for a Solihull-based research job with an international management consultancy specified that the “candidate must have the right to stay and work permanently in the UK, and a valid UK passport”. Another job recovering hire cars from France and Spain and delivering them back to Britain was restricted to UK passport holders only.

Other examples collected by Labour and the3million included:

  • Rental properties advertised for UK citizens only or outlining different terms for EU nationals.
  • Travel agencies declining to take bookings from non-British or non-Irish citizens and cancelling the holidays already booked by EU nationals from other countries.
  • A law firm advising that employment contracts incorporate clauses that specify that the loss of right to work will result in immediate dismissal.

However, a number of the companies included in the dossier – mostly little-known firms or agencies – said their ads were “either old, made in error or posted with a typo” when contacted by the Guardian. Two said their original advertisements involved administrative or clerical errors and had been reposted with clearer wording.



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