Rudd has been fending off criticism from Labour MPs this afternoon
24 April, 2018, 09:43
Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, told the House of Commons on Monday that it is the first step towards correcting the wrongs the Caribbean nationals faced in what has been described as the Windrush scandal, in which the individuals were invited by the British government from 1948-1973 to help rebuild the United Kingdom after World War II.
She also pledged to scrap language and British knowledge tests and bring in speedy financial compensation for those that had suffered loss.
Rudd said fees for any children of the generation who wanted to apply for naturalisation would be dropped.
Rudd emphasised her commitment to tackling illegal immigration but conceded that successive governments bore responsibility for the policies that had an "unintended and sometimes devastating" impact on people.
"They are British in all but legal status and this should never have been allowed to happen", she said.
She said: 'We were too slow to realise there was a group of people that needed to be treated differently.
"We need to give a human face to how we work and exercise greater judgement where and when it is justified", she said.
The home secretary was accused of ignoring repeated warnings about the effect the "hostile environment" for illegal immigrants was having on people with the right to be in the United Kingdom as she appeared before MPs yesterday.
"Government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich", she added.
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.
As well as waiving fees of £1,330, ministers said those seeking naturalisation will be exempt from a requirement to pass English language and knowledge of life in the United Kingdom tests.
Comissiong also told LaRocque CARICOM was obligated to take a collective position in relation the Windrush generation who have been subjected to a "state-orchestrated, racist campaign of unlawful deportations, detentions in custody, denial of medical and other social services and denial of right to gain employment".
"I want to enable the Windrush generation to acquire the status they deserve - British citizenship, quickly, at low cost and with proactive assistance through the process".
Ms Rudd said nine residency cases had been settled by a special Home Office team set up to deal with the crisis, while 84 individuals had had appointments made. She said migrants retired overseas could return with no fee, and compensation would be paid.
People who had arrived in the United Kingdom before 1973 were automatically granted indefinite leave to remain but the Home Office did not keep a record of those allowed to stay or any documentation confirming their status. This has happened for some time. "None of this can undo the pain already endured, but I hope it demonstrates the government's commitment to put these wrongs right going forward".
Media captionExplained: What is the "hostile environment" policy? "Of course, an apology is just the first step in putting right the wrongs that these people have suffered".
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said the scandal "should not have been a surprise" to ministers, given the warnings they had received, and told Ms Rudd "ultimately the buck stops" with her.
'She is behaving as if it is a shock to her. Officials are implementing regulations in the way she intended them to be implemented.
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