ब्रिटेन के हजारों आप्रवासियों को 'क्लिफ एज' वीज़ा परिवर्तन का सामना करने के कारण नए विंडरश का डर है

ब्रिटेन के हजारों आप्रवासियों को 'क्लिफ एज' वीज़ा परिवर्तन का सामना करने के कारण नए विंडरश का डर है

Fears of new Windrush as thousands of UK immigrants face ‘cliff edge’ visa change

Fears of new Windrush as thousands of UK immigrants face a "cliff edge" due to imminent visa status changes.

  • Global News
  • 93
  • 19, May, 2024
Jivika Chawla
Jivika Chawla
  • @JivikaChawla

Fears of new Windrush as thousands of UK immigrants face ‘cliff edge’ visa change

Lawyers and migrant rights campaigners are warning of a potential repeat of the Windrush scandal due to the government's imposition of a “cliff edge” deadline for immigrants to switch to new digital visas. By the end of this year, an estimated 500,000 non-EU immigrants with leave to remain in the UK must replace their physical biometric residence permits (BRPs) with digital e-visas. These BRPs currently serve as proof of their right to reside, rent, work, and claim benefits.

To access their e-visas, individuals must open a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) digital account. The Home Office recently sent invitations to a trial group of BRP holders to open these accounts. However, many invitations went to lawyers instead of the immigrants themselves, as many migrants had used their solicitors’ email addresses as their Home Office contact. Due to data security reasons, personal details were excluded from the invitations, leaving lawyers unable to identify which clients the emails were intended for.

Zoe Bantleman, legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, highlighted the issue: “After 31 December, a person without access to their e-visa will be unable to prove their status in the UK. The Home Office has placed them in a similar situation to members of the Windrush generation. They have status, but they cannot prove it.” She expressed concern that due to poor communication from the Home Office, thousands may not apply for an e-visa before the deadline.

Starting this summer, any BRP holder can open a UKVI digital account without an invitation. However, immigration lawyers fear that the government’s publicity drive will miss many older or poorer individuals who may not speak English as their first language or lack internet access. Zoe Dexter, housing and welfare manager at the Helen Bamber Foundation, described the government’s plans as chaotic, noting that the digitization of identity proof could financially burden hundreds of thousands of people, including refugees and survivors of trafficking and torture.

Critics also warn that the Home Office lacks measures to handle potential technical failures and has created a cliff edge with its deadline. While people can still apply for a UKVI digital account after 31 December, those unaware of the new rules may face disruptions when they cannot prove their right to return from holiday or claim benefits.

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Jivika Chawla

Jivika Chawla

  • @JivikaChawla