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UK About-Turn! – Jamaicans Under Deportation Threat Handed Lifeline
With the threat of deportation hanging over their heads, thousands of undocumented Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals who migrated to the United Kingdom (UK) when they were children between the late 1940s and the early 1970s are to receive urgent help from the British government to confirm their status as citizens in the UK.
The Theresa May-led Conservative Party Government has come under increased pressure and a barrage of criticisms from Labour MPs in the UK regarding the administration’s failure to address pressing concerns impacting the Windrush Generation.
The Empire Windrush was the ship that brought workers from the West Indies, including Jamaica, to Britain in 1948. Commonwealth citizens living in the UK had been granted indefinite leave to remain as stipulated in provisions under the 1971 Immigration Act.
However, the immigration law was amended in 2012, making it a requirement for people to have documentation to work, rent property or access healthcare benefits. This posed a significant challenge to the Windrush Generation, leaving people fearful about their status.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd y apologised for the “appalling” treatment meted out to the Windrush Generation by the Government. David Lammy, UK Labour Party MP and Windrush descendant, said it was a “day of national shame”.
Representatives of 12 Caribbean countries, including Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness held talks with the UK government at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the UK.
During bilateral talks with Holness at Downing Street in London May said she deeply valued the contribution made by the Windrush generation and all Commonwealth citizens who have made a life in the United Kingdom.
According to May, Jamaica is a key Commonwealth partner, with over 800,000 members of the Diaspora residing in the UK and over 200,000 Britons visiting Jamaica each yearneration issue