The UK’s exit from the European Union has been messy and complicated, to say the least. Brexit has led to confusion at the ports, tensions with Northern Ireland and Ireland, and suggestions that Scotland may make a bid for independence. Another set of unusual knock-on effects has also taken place with travelers’ visas. One such visitor, Marta Lomartire, encountered a truly strange problem with Britain’s border authorities.
According to a report from Euronews, Lomartire, a 24-year-old Italian native, was visiting the UK for the first time recently when she was detained for improper papers. Lomartire’s cousin, Giuseppe Pichierri, was waiting to pick her up. Pichierri’s four-year-old daughter was with him and had brought balloons and pictures she had drawn with her to celebrate the arrival of her family in the UK.
Lomartire told reporters that she was detained in a room with barred windows. A security door to the small holding room was left open, and she was allowed a phone call before her belongings were confiscated. Confused and stunned, Lomartire explained that she was just in London to visit her cousin and help look after his children while Pichierri and his wife were at work.
Pichierri and his wife, Jennifer, both work for the NHS. As such, having family in town to help look after their children was going to be a huge relief for them. Lomartire was extremely confused by her detainment, as she thought she’d brought all the paperwork she’d need to secure entry into the country. However, new regulations put in place since the finalization of Brexit have made it much more difficult for EU residents to enter the UK.
Lomartire’s experience is far from unique. In recent weeks, there have been countless stories of Europeans attempting to enter the UK, only to be met with a labyrinthine set of new border rules. The European Commission is hardly pleased about this situation and has alerted the UK government to the issue. The complicated new set of rules feels arbitrary, say many in the EU.
Some in Europe have even suggested that the UK could soon face the prospect of people refusing to visit the country due to the border rules. Lomartire explained to reporters “I certainly did not feel welcomed, but I do not feel like absolutely excluding an opportunity there, at the moment, the idea of returning is a no.”