Grenfell Towers Fire Survivors Granted Immigration Amnesty

Immigration Textbook and Glasses

The Home Office has announced that migrants affected by the Grenfell Tower fire will be granted 12 months’ immigration amnesty.

On 14th June 2017, the 24 story Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington caught fire.  An inferno rapidly developed, gutting most of the building, killing at least 80 people and injuring more than 70.  The final death toll is not expected until 2018.

One of the difficulties in establishing the exact number of people affected by the fire is that some of those living in the block may have been illegal migrants.

Official guidance

The government has released guidance detailing how to consider the immigration status of those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. The guidance allows those affected by the fire to ‘a temporarily granted a period of lawful residence in the UK with full access to relevant support and assistance’.

Only those directly affected by the Grenfell Tower fire will be covered by the amnesty.  It will not apply to relatives living either inside or outside the UK.

The government said the guidance is intended as ‘a short-term policy’ to provide support and constancy so victims can deal with the trauma and aftermath of what they have been through.

The guidance says: ‘This will give them a firm legal footing to ensure they can access ongoing support, including social assistance, local authority housing support or any welfare benefits they may be eligible for.’

Who can be considered under this policy

This policy will apply to:

  • individuals in the UK with no immigration status (including illegal entrants and overstayers)
  • EEA nationals in the UK not exercising their Treaty rights, ie not employed, self-employed, a student or economically self-sufficient
  • individuals in the UK with limited leave to remain that is due to expire within 12 months of the date of the announcement of this policy
  • those who have been refused asylum and who do not have outstanding further submissions
  • individuals with a current immigration status which is subject to a condition of ‘no recourse to public funds’

who:

  • were a resident of Grenfell Tower on the date of the fire, whether or not they were there at the time of the fire—this includes those who were renting unlawfully through an illegal sub-let or informal arrangement
  • were living close to Grenfell Tower and have been significantly affected by the fire because they have been displaced from their place of residence

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