2018 17 APR
Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes:
Next week, we are privileged to welcome leaders from across the Commonwealth to London as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. This event highlights the value we continue to place on the links that hold this community of nations together.
I know that there is a growing sense of anxiety among some people in the Windrush generation, who came here from Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean, about their immigration status here in the UK.
These are people who have built a life here, and who in turn have made a massive contribution to the life of this country.
I want to give them some reassurance because we have absolutely no intention of asking anyone to leave who has the right to remain here.
The overwhelming majority of the Windrush generation already have the immigration documents they need, but some – through no fault of their own – have not. Those are the people we are working hard to help now.
This issue came to light because measures introduced in recent years to make sure only those with a legal right to live here can access things like NHS treatment and rented accommodation, meaning people must now be able to prove their status.
Having not previously needed documentation they have now found themselves without any way of proving their status today.
All that these people require is a simple card which is available from the Home Office.
So today I am encouraging anyone who is concerned that they are not currently able to prove their status to apply.
I know that establishing status after so many years may be difficult for some people but we will do everything we can to assist them.
We will handle every case with sensitivity and will help people understand what is required and help them gather the information they need.
People don’t need formal records. Any information that people can provide, from schools they attended to places of work, family or former addresses will help build this picture.
We want to reassure people that we want to make this process as straightforward as possible and we are currently setting up a dedicated contact point for people with questions and applications.
In addition, we are reaching out to charities, community groups, and the High Commissions to try to reassure people through these channels too.
My main priority here is to dispel the myth that this Government is clamping down on Commonwealth citizens – particularly those from the Caribbean – who have built a life here.
This is just not true. As next week’s meeting of Commonwealth leaders demonstrates, we need to work together to make a better life for everyone.