New NHS Visa
Leena Chouhan | 14.11.2019
17.04.2018 Moore Blatch
The 22nd June this year marks the 70th anniversary of the docking of a ship that sailed from the Caribbean to the UK. This ship, the SS Empire Windrush and has subsequently become a powerful and iconic symbol of UK migration.
On the above date, 70 years ago the first wave of about 500 Caribbean men and women arrived in the UK. The reason for the invitation was to help repair a Britain broken by the Second World War and in need of help from Commonwealth citizens who were British subjects.
At this time, there were no immigration restrictions on these people entering the UK; they were known as “freely landed” which meant that they could live and work anywhere within the UK and Colonies. This changed in 1962 when Commonwealth citizens became subject to immigration control, however children could still come on their parents’ passport so were exempt from this requirement.
1 January 1973 was the beginning of the immigration system as we know it today. People who were already present and settled when the Act came into force were automatically allowed to stay as were their children (Windrush children). The Act also introduced an exemption from deportation to Commonwealth citizens who were resident here at the time. We often see reference to “deportation” of illegal immigrants in the press. It is important to distinguish between deportation and administrative removal. Deportation is where the government makes an order to send someone back to their home country usually because they have committed a serious criminal offence against the public good. There is normally a re-entry ban to the UK of 10 years. Administrative removal, also known as forced removal, is when the Home Office enforces removal from the UK if someone doesn’t have permission to be in the UK. There is normally a re-entry ban to the UK of 1 to 5 years.
The Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates there are 500,000 people living in the UK who were born in a Commonwealth country and came to the UK before 1971. Many Windrush children are finding that they now face removal from the UK after several decades of legally living and working in the UK.
Removal from UK – why now?
In May 2012 Theresa May announced the current Government’s hostile immigration policy for illegal immigrants. This restricts access to jobs, driving licences, healthcare and accommodation. This policy has recently been implemented into our legal system, through the passing of several laws.
The issue for many people, such as the Windrush generation is that the Home Office did not keep records of those granted permission to remain in the UK and in some cases issue any paperwork to confirm this. This means it is very difficult for these individuals to prove they are in the UK legally.
Proving a right to stay in the UK
Legally speaking there is no new grant of status, rather an administrative process where people in this situation need to apply to the Home Office for recognition of their right to live in the UK. This application is known as “NTL”. It costs £229 per person. But is it’s not as easy as easy as completing the 21 page Home Office form. Individuals are expected to show:
evidence of their Commonwealth citizenship
their arrival in the UK
that they were “‘ordinarily resident” on 1 January 1973 (this would be shown by being a minor and a Commonwealth citizen on arrival)
that they haven’t had any absences from the UK since 1988 for over 2 years
that they’re still ordinarily resident at the time of the application
Providing this evidence for several decades before computerisation can be surprisingly difficult and time-consuming. The Home Office guidance to its own caseworker’s guidance states
“The applicant must provide evidence they were present and settled in the UK on 1 January 1973 and have continued to reside here since. Evidence must include official correspondence. If the applicant cannot produce enough documents, you must look at any circumstances that may prove they were in the UK
…The applicant is responsible for providing evidence they were settled in the UK on 1 January 1973. As these applicants are stating they have been in the UK for a long time it is important you treat these cases in a careful and sensitive manner”
Unfortunately as highlighted in many cases studies by the media these cases are not being treated in a “careful” or “sensitive manner”. New guidance:
Home Office guidance published late in the day last Friday summarises what people in this situation are expected to do. Unfortunately there is nothing new in this document.
Political correctness would have us believe that we have moved on from the discriminatory overtly racist ideas in the 1950’s to the 1980’s however this policy gives the perception that this has been replaced by a more subtle Government approved ideology once again in the name of immigration control.
If you have any questions about this, or any aspect of UK immigration please contact Moore Blatch Immigration Department by email at email@example.com or by phone on 020 3818 5433.