Government apologises for treatment of 'Windrush generation' of migrants

Britain's Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes arrives in Downing Street in London

Britain's Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes arrives in Downing Street in London

After initially rejecting their request for a meeting, a Downing Street U-turn will now see the Prime Minister meet with Caribbean leaders in a bid to ease the controversy.

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.

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.

"It is an absolute scandal that the Home Office doesn't even know how many people they have wrongly deported", she said.

The Tottenham MP said it was "inhumane and cruel" that it had taken for the government so long to act.

In an urgent question to the Home Secretary in the Commons, Labour MP David Lammy said it was a "national day of shame". The Having grown up and lived in the country their entire lives and having paid National Insurance contributions, some of these citizens have never felt the need to formalise their right to living in the UK.

"Can she apologise properly?"

The Home Office earlier confirmed the meeting was requested but the subject of the proposed meeting was not made clear.


But the Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork confirming it, meaning it is hard for the individuals to now prove they are in Britain legally. We have seen the individual stories and they have been, some of them, awful to hear.

She told Channel 4 News: "Potentially they have been and I'm very conscious that it's very much in error, and that's an error that I want to put right". "That is why I am so committed to ensuring that there is no cost involved".

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes appeared to suggest that some individuals may already have been deported in error. The exact number of people without official documents is unknown.

This afternoon Ms Rudd said she was "not aware of any specific cases of a person being removed in these circumstances", instead telling MPs she was urging representatives of Commonwealth countries to come forward with their own examples.

This lack of papers was then exacerbated by May's "hostile environment policy, under which landlords, hospitals, businesses and civil society have been forced to proactively prove that their employees, tenants and service users have the right to be in the United Kingdom", says the New Statesman's Stephen Bush.

Unless they are able to produce documents confirming their right to live in the United Kingdom, the Home Office has threatened them with deportation.

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has offered an apology in the House of Commons to members of the so-called Windrush generation who have been subjected to what she described as "appalling" treatment by the British Government.

She added: "This issue came to light because measures introduced in recent years to make sure only those with a legal right to live here can access things like NHS treatment and rented accommodation, meaning people must now be able to prove their status. We will review any cases that are brought to our attention".

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