Children of migrant families in Britain may be caught up in what has been described as a “potential second Windrush-style scandal”, with controversy emerging this week as young students outlined their experiences when applying for university in the UK.
A recent report demonstrated that children from migrant families in the UK are facing greater difficulties to further their education and obtain a degree. Upon making an application to study at university, many students find themselves unable to proceed as they are asked to present documents which they do not have access to. Reports have emerged of many children who despite having spent years in the UK, unaware of their immigration rights and later having to save up and pay for legal status before attending university - a process which can often take years.
In a recent report by BBC, a student who was affected by this found that he had no immigration status at all. After the changes to the immigration rules in 2012, it was confirmed that a child would need to have had seven years of continuous residence in the UK in order to be granted leave to remain. Since the student that talked to BBC was aged 12, by the time he applied for university he had not fulfilled the criteria. This would be the case for many more, some of which do not have the documents to establish residency or the money to settle at all. It is estimated that a high proportion of students withdraw their applications to university as a result.
“An estimated 107,000 children and 26,000 18-24 year olds are living in London without secure immigration status, but despite more than half being born in the UK, the high cost of immigration and citizenships fees mean that they are unable to access higher education, open a bank account, apply for a driving licence, or secure housing or employment,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan in a statement released this week to mark Windrush Day.
He called for the British government to end the ‘hostile environment’ created for migrants by the state, adding that “another year has passed and lessons are still not being learned”.
“Many of the Windrush Generation and their families are still struggling to access the advice and support they need, and it is clear that too many Londoners are still being failed by an immigration system that is prohibitively expensive and simply not fit for purpose,” he concluded.
See the full London Mayor statement here.