Published: Wed, April 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Theresa May apologises to Caribbean leaders over treatment of immigrants

Theresa May apologises to Caribbean leaders over treatment of immigrants

A petition calling for Amnesty for the Windrush Generation was also signed by over 100,000 people, therefore, ensuring the issue would be discussed in Parliament.

"That we send a message of reassurance to people who are here, we want to get this right for them".

Some have been threatened with deportation, while others have lost out on healthcare, employment and housing because they could not prove their status - despite having lived legally in the United Kingdom for decades.

That act enshrined the right for Commonwealth citizens to have indefinite leave to remain in Britain - but those who had come over before that date often do not now have the paperwork to prove that they were legally allowed to live in the country. He said, "It is a concerning matter but we take note that the Government has given a commitment that justice is going to be done and is in the process of being done". The Home Secretary announced on Monday that a new dedicated team will work across government to help individuals identify and gather evidence to confirm their existing right to be in the UK.

But stories of him failing to take action over rapes and a killing by regional politicians belonging to his Bharatiya Janata Party do not project the image he needs as he tries to boost his and India's role in the Commonwealth, where common values and the rights of individuals have been stressed this week in seminars and forums during the run up to the summit.

The immigrants are named after the Windrush (pictured), one of the first ships that brought Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948 in the aftermath of World War Two, when labour shortages meant that people from the Commonwealth, a network of mostly former British colonies, were invited to help rebuild the economy.

There is growing anger that long-term British residents have fallen victim to rule changes in 2012 aimed at stopping overstaying. This came into force in 1973.

Suddenly, they were no longer able to work, claim benefits, or obtain free medical services.

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So why are there problems now?

But those who failed to get their papers in order are now being treated as illegal, which limits their access to work and healthcare and puts them at risk of deportation if they can not provide evidence of their life in Britain.

More than 50,000 people could be affected by the Government's immigration crackdown.

A new taskforce and helpline has been established for people affected.

However there are limits to what the numbers can tell us.

"Due to the rollout of very intrusive and harsh immigration checks across everyday life, people are now finding themselves in situations where they are quite heavily penalised for not having that documentation", said Satbir Singh, chief executive of the Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants.

The UK solicitor made it clear that persons who lost their jobs owing to flawed decisions made by the UK authorities should also be compensated. So anyone arriving in 1971 or 1972 will not be included in the data.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: "The Windrush generation have been threatened with deportation because they cannot provide documents, but now we learn that the Home Office destroyed the very records that could have demonstrated their right to remain". Among the notable people who were part of the Windrush Generation were Trinidad calypsonians Lord Kitchener and Lord Woodbine, the latter credited with being a major influence in the career of the Beatles, authors VS Naipaul and Sam Selvon, and Jamaican war veteran Sam Beaver King, who became the first black Mayor of Southwark in 1983.

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