Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Number Ten refuses talks with Caribbean officials on Windrush generation

Number Ten refuses talks with Caribbean officials on Windrush generation

Often they did not formally apply for British citizenship or a passport. Tens of thousands who arrived as children from the Caribbean are said to have been "treated like criminals".

Guy Hewitt, the Barbados high commissioner, said: "We did make a request to the CHOGM summit team for a meeting to be held between the prime minister and the Commonwealth Caribbean heads of government who will be here for the CHOGM and regrettably they have advised us that that is not possible".

Housing, communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: "I'm deeply concerned to hear about difficulties some of the Windrush generation are facing with their immigration status".

The Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates there are 500,000 people resident in the United Kingdom who were born in a Commonwealth country and arrived before 1971.

More than 140 members of parliament have signed a letter to the prime minister calling on her to resolve an anomaly that means many people who arrived in Britain as children between 1948 and 1971 are being denied health services, prevented from working and in some cases threatened with deportation. The rules require documentary evidence of the right to be here.

Nearly every British political party, from the Greens to UKIP, have opposed the move, which has also united such disparate bodies as The Guardian and the Daily Mail.

We are calling for a lower burden of proof for those who arrived here before 1971, and more flexibility shown to those who have lived here and paid taxes for several decades but were never naturalised.

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Mrs May's official spokesman said: "She deeply values the contribution made by these and all Commonwealth citizens who have made a life in the United Kingdom, and is making sure the Home Office is offering the correct solution for individual situations".

Labour MP David Lammy said that "what is going on is grotesque, immoral and inhumane".

The immigrants are named after the Windrush, 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.

"The Windrush generation must have their rights as British citizens confirmed, any who have been deported must be invited back to the United Kingdom immediately and those who oversaw their deportations must be held to account".

A Home Office official said the rejection was because the subject of the meeting was not clear.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "People who are in that situation, there is absolutely no question of their right to remain, and their right to gain access to services such as healthcare".

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