The so-called Windrush Generation – the thousands of people who arrived in the UK as children from the first wave of Commonwealth immigration are being threatened with deportation by the Home Office. As a group, they have been told that they are here illegally and will likely need to get in touch with the Home Office. Many will be shocked by the revelations as many of those who are affected would have lived and worked in the UK for a large proportion of their lives.
A petition has been launched to try and urge the Government to discuss the ongoing crisis and has so far managed to garner 23,000 signatures. This so far is short of the 100,000 signatures that will be required to force a debate on the issue in the House of Commons, but it is hoped that with the additional media coverage surrounding it, there should be a large uptick in the number of signatures that get added to the petition.
The Home Office has said that it will handle cases “sensitively,” this is an insult to those that have spent the vast majority of their lives in the UK and have made their lives and brought up their families here. To be told that they may be sent back to countries they left as children and in many cases have no connection to is abhorrent.
Under the 1971 Immigration Act – all Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were given Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), but the right to free movement between commonwealth nations ended once the bill was enacted. It appears that the Home Office kept no records of who was given ILR or any paperwork for them to prove their right to remain in the UK for life. So it is hard for these individuals to prove their eligibility and in many cases, it will be almost impossible for them to prove when they first entered the country.
According to Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates, up to 500,000 people currently residing in the UK are likely to be affected by the change in tactic by the Home Office. The Home Office itself is under the intense pressure of late due to significant errors that have been made. This new revelation will lead to even more people becoming upset with the beleaguered government department.
Labour MP David Lammy, who is a vocal supporter of the rights of these people and also looks after them as a local MP tweeted – “We invited people as citizens, Home Office treating them like criminals.” Many of his local constituents have been directly affected and Lammy is right to slam the Home Office for their change in tactic.
If you have been affected by this change or indeed any other immigration query then please get in touch and our immigration solicitors can help to look at your case and offer the help and advice that you need.