Downing Street has rejected a formal diplomatic request to discuss immigration problems being experienced by Windrush-generation British citizens.
Guy Hewitt, the Barbados high commissioner, told The Guardian: “We did make a request to the CHOGM summit team for a meeting to be held between the prime minister and the Commonwealth Caribbean heads of government who will be here for the CHOGM and regrettably they have advised us that that is not possible.”
A number of Windrush generation migrants have reportedly been threatened with deportation to countries they left half a century ago, been denied access to the NHS or lost jobs because they have been told they do not have sufficient paperwork.
A petition demanding an “amnesty for anyone who was a minor that arrived in Britain between 1948 to 1971″ received over 110,000 signatures.
Seth George Ramocan, the Jamaican high commissioner, said he would raise the issue despite the lack of a formal meeting. “We have senior citizens in limbo. It is not explicitly on the agenda, but we want our heads of government to bring it to the attention of the wider body.”
Anyone living in Britain continuously since before January 1, 1973, is legally entitled to live there – but may struggle to prove that they are entitled.
Writing for the Voice, the immigration minister Caroline Nokes acknowledged that the problem had arisen because of a tightening up of regulations.
She said: “The overwhelming majority of the Windrush generation already have the documents they need, but some – through no fault of their own – have not…
“Having not previously needed documentation they have now found themselves without any way of proving their status today.
“We will handle every case with sensitivity and will help … people gather the information they need.”
“Our [Government] invited the Windrush Generation to Britain as citizens to rebuild our country in the wake of WWII.
“That these individuals are being treated with such contempt, disrespect and lack of dignity is shameful.”
LBC presenter Iain Dale criticised the move, writing: “It is a total and utter disgrace that people who have devoted their lives to this country are being treated in this reprehensible manner.”
The Standard approached No. 10 for comment.