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The Windrush Issue: Home Office support to Southampton residents

 

A large group of West Indian and Caribbean residents of Southampton assembled at the Ropewalk Centre on Thursday 17 May to meet, share experience, seek advice and gain answers from Home Office representatives following the Windrush scandal.

 

The national debate over immigration and the status of those who arrived from the Caribbean before 1973 is impacting families in our city.

 

Now some of those affected have met with Home Office officials and Minister of State for Immigration & Southampton MP Caroline Nokes to highlight their issues and concerns, and to access support.

 

Anyone who arrived in the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973 has a legal right to stay in this country, unless they left the UK for more than two years. But new immigration rules, that came into force when now-PM Theresa May was Home Secretary, require employers, landlords and the  NHS to demand evidence of legal immigration status. However, it recently came to light that landing cards recording the dates of migrant arrivals were destroyed in 2010.

 

According to the National Archives , between 1948 and 1970 nearly half a million people left their homes in the West Indies to live in Britain with many staying in the port they arrived in – Southampton.

 

Speaking at the event local resident & community leader Don John said,

 

“Although the Home Office has set up a task force to deal with individual cases; there are many who felt that this step is insufficient and may not necessarily meet the needs of those affected.

 

We have tried to provide help more locally and to reassure local people that they will be dealt with sympathetically”.

 

Vilma Scott a WICT Trustee and Caribbean migrant who came to England in the 1960s, explained

 

Today we have been able to provide individual meetings with specific responses for people who have been affected. It’s not an immediate solution but the start of a dialogue with Home Office experts who can help address the problems that have blighted people’s lives through no fault of their own.”

 

Don John added,

 

I think that the Minister took away with her a sense of people’s feelings about this issue. Hopefully this has opened the doors for further enquiries to be made about individual cases. But we know we have not reached everyone affected and we hope more will come forward.

 

If you could not attend and need more information t:023 8038 8580 or email info@wict.co.uk

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