United Kingdom admits 'horrendous' mistakes over 'Windrush' immigrants denied rights

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The Government's "hostile environment" immigration policy means that some British residents, who have lived legally in the United Kingdom for decades, are now facing requests for official documentation for the first time.

According to The Guardian, Number Ten was asked by representatives of 12 Caribbean countries for a meeting with the Prime Minister, as part of this week's Commonwealth Heads of Government summit.

The move follows concern that people are facing deportation and being denied access to healthcare due to United Kingdom paperwork issues and anomalies affecting some immigrants who arrived between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

A Home Office official said the rejection had been because the subject of the meeting was not clear. There were no immigration restrictions on them and they were known as "freely landed".

Meanwhile, a petition on the government's website calling on the Home Office to grant them an amnesty has attracted the 100,000 signatures required to be considered for a debate in Parliament.

On Friday, the Home Office issued guidance admitting that problems were coming to the fore because of newly tightened immigration rules, noting: "Recent changes to the law mean that if you wish to work, rent property or have access to benefits and services in the United Kingdom then you will need documents to demonstrate your right to be in the UK".

Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the United Kingdom were given indefinite leave to remain - but the right to free movement between Commonwealth nations was ended from that date onwards. Admitting some "horrendous situations", immigration minister Caroline Nokes told BBC Radio the government had "an absolute responsibility to make sure there are no more of these mistakes".

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption"My whole life sunk down to my feet- Windrush migrant Michael Braithwaite

"What clearly needs to happen is we need to do a better job with the process that these individuals are having to go through".

"People should not be concerned about this - they have the right to stay and we should be reassuring them of that".

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has described the denial of their rights and the deportations as "disgraceful".

Barbados high commissioner Guy Hewitt told the BBC: 'I have held as a great honour the fact that I am the first London-born high commissioner for Barbados.

What has changed? In 1962 citizens of the Commonwealth became subject to immigration controls but those who arrived as minors were not included. Often they did not formally apply for British citizenship or a passport.

Britain's interior minister Amber Rudd on Monday apologised to thousands of British residents who arrived from the Caribbean decades ago and are now being denied basic rights after being incorrectly identified as illegal immigrants.

The Guardian newspaper has highlighted a number of cases of such people being threatened with deportation.

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