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British PM tells Holness support system in place for certain migrants threatened with deportation

Jamaica Gleaner / British Prime Minister Theresa May has told Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness that the UK Government will ensure the correct support is in place to give people from the Windrush generation certainty about their existing right to reside in the United Kingdom. 

There has been mounting pressure on the British government after the Home Office indicated that it would have been seeking to deport as undocumented immigrants, people from the Windrush generation comprising migrants from British-run Caribbean countries who went to the UK as British citizens to help with its rebuilding after the second world war in 1948.

During bilateral talks with Holness earlier today at Downing Street in London May said she deeply valued the contribution made by the Windrush generation and all Commonwealth citizens who have made a life in the United Kingdom.

“They looked forward to the meeting later this morning with heads of delegation from Commonwealth Caribbean countries where the matter will be discussed and the Prime Minister will have further opportunity to listen to concerns,” the Downing Street Spokesperson said.

At that meeting, May said, she was “genuinely sorry” about the anxiety caused by the Home Office threatening the children of Commonwealth citizens with deportation.

People who went to help with the rebuilding of Britain after the World War were given indefinite right to stay in the UK until 1971 when a new law was passed declaring as illegal immigrants those who failed to get their paper in order.

This morning, the heads of government also discussed migration and agreed that the UK and Jamaica would continue to cooperate closely on disaster preparation ahead of hurricane season, on tackling serious and organised crime, and on health care training and education.

Meanwhile, May has indicated that there is the potential for investments in the region as the United Kingdom prepares to exit the European Union.

They reportedly agreed that the bilateral trade and investment relationship would continue to grow.

The Downing Street spokesperson said during the meeting, May outlined that her government is encouraging British businesses to look more widely around the world to identify opportunities to expand and diversify trade.

The spokesperson said the leaders agreed that economic development and the provision of opportunities for the many young people in the region was key to Caribbean security.

They also agreed that bilateral trade and investment relationship would continue to grow. 

According to May, Jamaica is a key Commonwealth partner, with over 800,000 members of the Diaspora residing in the UK and over 200,000 Britons visiting Jamaica each year.

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