Thank you for contacting me about the growing number of people who came to the UK from the Commonwealth as children but who now face uncertainty over their status.
Several cases have been highlighted where people have been denied the free NHS care they are entitled to or threatened with deportation. Some may even have been deported in error.
The mistreatment of the Windrush generation is scandalous. They were invited here as citizens to help rebuild the UK after the Second World War. This is their home and they have contributed hugely to our country.
Under the Immigration Act 1971, all Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were granted indefinite leave to remain. However, the Home Office did not keep records or issue paperwork confirming it. It is also the case that in 2014, the Government removed the immigration protection that existed for Commonwealth citizens who had come here previously.
This whole situation has caused immense distress to the people concerned, widespread concern throughout the country and international disquiet – and is a direct consequence of the “hostile environment” policy for migrants.
Following widespread pressure, the Home Office has now confirmed that the ‘Windrush Generation’ do have the right to remain, and apologised for any confusion or anxiety. The Home Office has also established a new team to help individuals to evidence their right to be here and to access necessary services.
It is shameful that the UK has treated the Windrush generation in this way. The Government should restore the protections which were removed in 2014 and confirm the rights of the Windrush generation as British citizens. We must establish the facts on any deportations and the Government must make apologies where necessary and invite anyone who has been deported in error back to the UK immediately.
I also believe that compensation should be considered and that there must be an end to the entire hostile environment policy towards migrants.
I will continue to press the Government on this issue at every possible opportunity.