Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

United Kingdom admits 'horrendous' mistakes over 'Windrush' immigrants denied rights

Reading The News So far the government has said it's necessary because of changes to immigration law
Melinda Barton | 17 April, 2018, 01:16

Britain is hoping its historic links to Commonwealth countries will help develop new trade links as it leaves the European Union but it's also toughening immigration laws, rendering the children and grandchildren of some of those who came in the 1950s vulnerable and without clear evidence of British nationality despite paying taxes and holding down jobs for years.

Speaking to ITV News about the mistakes made in cases involving the Windrush generation facing deportation from the United Kingdom, immigration minister Caroline Nokes said: "There have been some horrendous situations that as a minister have appalled me".

Mrs May is to meet her counterparts from Caribbean states in the margins of the Commonwealth summit in London on Tuesday amid growing anger about individuals facing the threat of deportation and being denied access to healthcare due to United Kingdom paperwork issues.

But, despite having lived in the country for the majority of their lives, the group of British residents have begun to experience issues as a result of tightened United Kingdom immigration requirements.

Br Ms Nokes could not give an estimate for the number of people affected.

Their problems include difficulties when finding work, getting NHS care, accessing benefits, or trying to secure housing.

Ms Nokes apologised to members of the Windrush generation, saying: "I am very sorry that this situation has arisen".

She said: "Well, absolutely, these are people who we welcomed here way back in the 50s and 60s and it's really important to me that we correct any error, and that we send a message of reassurance to people who are here, we want to get this right for them".

"The Government must immediately guarantee that anyone who comes forward to clarify their status should not face deportation or detention, because as things stand today there are thousands of people who are too anxious about their future to come forward".

The Labour MP for Tottenham ripped into Home Secretary Amber Rudd during the heated Commons debate. And we have seen the individual stories and they have been, some of them, awful to hear.

Labour have pointed to changes to United Kingdom immigration law introduced while the Prime Minister herself was in charge of the Home Office.

Many long-term immigrants who arrived from the Commonwealth as children have been told they are here illegally.

"Theresa May must apologise for this mess which has taken place as a direct outcome of the hostile environment she created".

Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the United Kingdom were given indefinite leave to remain - but the right to free movement between Commonwealth nations was ended from that date onwards.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Ed Davey accused the Home Office of "seriously failing" the Windrush generation.

They are known as the Windrush generation - a reference to the ship, the Empire Windrush, which brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.

"I am concerned that the Home Office is becoming too concerned with policy and strategy and sometimes loses sight of the individual", she said.

Barbados High Commissioner Guy Hewitt told the BBC: "Because they came from colonies which were not independent, they thought they were British subjects". A request for a meeting was reportedly refused at the weekend, although Downing Street said the Prime Minister had not been made aware of the approach.

Mrs May's official spokesman said the Prime Minister "deeply values" the contribution made by Commonwealth citizens in the United Kingdom, and was "clear that no-one with the right to be here will be made to leave".