The new rules mean EU citizens who are sentenced to more than a year in prison for crimes committed in the UK will be considered for deportation.
Under current rules, Brussels’ free movement policy means it’s considerably more difficult for UK authorities to deport EU citizens than other other foreign nationals.
The UK Government is required to show the criminals pose a “serious threat to the fundamental interests of society” before they can be deported.
Earlier this week it was revealed that just 217 prisoners from the European Union have been sent back home to serve their sentences since 2011.
The prison transfer agreement was supposed to clear thousands from overcrowded UK jails and save the taxpayer more than £100million, but new figures reveal EU prisoners are being sent home at a measly rate of 36-a-year.
Prisons minister Sam Gyimah said that of the 4,100 EU citizens in jails across England and Wales at the end of September, 891 were Polish nationals as well as 638 Romanians, 424 Lithuanians, 245 Portuguese and 189 Dutch.
Conservative MP Philip Hollobone hit out at the ineffective directive.
He said: “Far too few Euro criminals are being sent home under the EU prisoner transfer directive despite the fact that it is meant to be compulsory.”
However, the five-page Government document does acknowledge that EU members states could take reciprocal action against UK citizens living in Europe after Brexit as a result of their own hardline stance.
According to Foreign Office statistics, Spain is the EU country with the highest number of British nationals detained, followed by Ireland, France and Germany.
British officials say the new harder stance is the result of a desire not to allow the 3.2million EU citizens with permanent settled status in the UK to be given a “privileged status” above UK or other foreign nationals.
The document also touches on the issues of citizens’ rights and tries to allay fears the the British Government could try to take an obstructive, legalistic approach to registration.
Brussels has been angered by recent incidents that included EU nationals receiving deportation letters in error.
EU nationals will now have to provide a photograph for their application to gain citizenship in Britain and will have a statutory right of appeal in the event an application is rejected.
The fee to register will not be any higher than the cost of a British passport – currently £72.50.
The paper reads: “Learning lessons from applicants’ experiences of the existing routes for obtaining EEA documentation, the UK is designing a streamlined, user-friendly, digital application process.”