This week, the Home Secretary released an unequivocal statement on the right of the Windrush generation to remain here in the UK. This came following accounts of the Home Office clumsily applying its policy of making sure that only those with a legal right to live here could access certain services such as NHS treatment, or rent accommodation. This regrettable approach from the Home Office caused untold distress for a small number of former Commonwealth citizens which should never have happened, and I welcome the Government’s unreserved apology for this mistake.
Let there be no doubt whatsoever that those of Windrush generation are here legally and are hugely valued members of our communities. As the Prime Minister said today, ‘they have built a life here; they have made a massive contribution to the country. These people are British.’ Indeed, as a Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister, I am reminded everyday of just how rich and important the history between the UK and the rest of the Commonwealth is, and how vital it is that we work to maintain and nurture this uniquely intertwined relationship well into the future.
Although only a small number of people were affected and there is no indication of anyone having been incorrectly removed from the UK, the Home Office is absolutely committed to making sure that all cases of concern are swiftly resolved. The Home Secretary has set up a dedicated cross-Government team to help individuals identify and gather evidence to confirm their right to be in the UK, with the aim of resolving all cases of concern within two weeks of having gathered the necessary information.
To again echo the words of the Prime Minister, the Windrush generation came here after the war, they helped to build this country, many of whom worked in our public services. They are British people and rightfully here.
Please find below the official Home Office guidance for former Commonwealth citizens, and if you would like any more information or have a case you would like to raise with me, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Guidance for former Commonwealth Citizens
The Home Office has published a new web page which provides information and guidance for former Commonwealth citizens. It gives examples of the type of evidence that can be provided to support applications including exam certificates, employment records, your National Insurance number, birth and marriage certificates or bills and letters.
If you are concerned about your own situation you should call the new telephone line that has been set up to help guide you through this process: 0300 123 2241 (select option 1).