Published: Wed, April 25, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Amber Rudd promises Windrush migrants free citizenship

Amber Rudd promises Windrush migrants free citizenship

"Many people think the events around the Windrush generation are one of the biggest scandals in the administration of home affairs in a very long time", Home Secretary Amber Rudd said.

She told the Commons she would axe £1,330 fees for applying for citizenship, along with the English language and United Kingdom life test immigrants are required to pass.

Nurses from Jamaica are to be targeted as potential recruits for the health service, the government has revealed, in its latest move to try and help mitigate the UK's nursing recruitment crisis by looking overseas.

She also confirmed that a compensation scheme will be set up for people who have suffered loss or damage due to their inability to show they remained in Britain legally and to access services.

Ms Rudd apologised again for changes to immigration rules - dubbed the "hostile environment" policy - which she said had had an "unintended and devastating" impact on the Windrush generation.

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister who leads the EU legislature's Brexit coordinating panel, said after the presentation that his group would write to the government and EU Brexit negotiators listing concerns.

"In effect this means anyone from the Windrush generation who now wants to become a British citizen will be able to do so", she said.

Video Pause xxx Amber Rudd Norman Grindle
Video Pause xxx Amber Rudd Norman Grindle

Ms Rudd said nine cases had been settled by a special Home Office team set up to deal with the crisis while 84 individuals had had their documents processed. "That's why we urgently need to put it right".

Speaking in a heated Commons debate on the Home Office's treatment of the Windrush generation, the Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East urged Home Secretary Amber Rudd to do more to address the "legitimate grievances" of migrants from the Commonwealth.

"An apology is just the first step, ' she insisted, acknowledging the 'devastating" impact on those who can not prove their status. "The Home Secretary has to understand that ultimately the buck stops with her".

Ms Rudd said Home Office official were manually trawling through more than 8,000 records dating back to 2002 to establish whether any Windrush-era immigrants to the United Kingdom had been wrongly deported.

The fees and the documentation had been particularly hard to provide, she said, and she was "so happy" with this move - but still felt annoyed by the saga. "The state has let these people down".

"She is behaving as if it is a shock to her that officials are implementing regulations in the way she intended them to be implemented", she said.

It shows hallmarks of the years following the Second World War, when the British government began to encourage mass immigration from the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth to fill shortages in the labour market.

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