Survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster who had an uncertain UK immigration status have been granted the opportunity to gain indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Ministers have made the decision to extend a UK visa scheme that originally allowed a one-year grace period for foreign nationals directly affected by the fire after receiving criticism from campaigners.
According to Brandon Lewis, UK immigration minister, the government hoped that their initial response would help with survivors’ immediate needs as they attempted to rebuild their lives after the fire.
“However,” he added, “since the Grenfell Tower immigration policy was announced, we have been planning for the future of those residents affected by these unprecedented events and listening to their feedback.”
As a result, Mr Lewis stated that the government would provide “greater certainty” to survivors by allowing them the opportunity to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. However, he stated that this would still be dependent on security and criminality requirements being met.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has suggested that the government’s offer does not go far enough, insisting that all survivors should be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK regardless of their background.
“For the Grenfell inquiry to obtain all the facts, all survivors need to participate fully, whatever their status,” Ms Abbott said. “And the idea of deporting anyone who has suffered this trauma is simply grotesque. Full rights to indefinite leave to remain should be granted to all survivors who need it.”