Vastavam web: Illegal immigrants who survived a fire that killed about 80 people in a social housing block in London will be given a clear path to obtaining permanent residency in Britain, the government said on Wednesday.The 24-storey Grenfell Tower, which was home to many immigrants and people from ethnic minorities, was gutted on June 14 in an inferno that started in the middle of the night and engulfed the whole building with devastating speed.
Some of the approximately 250 people who made it out of the building alive did not have the legal right to live in Britain and have been reluctant to make themselves known to the authorities.The government had previously said that if they came forward, those people would be given leave to remain legally in Britain for 12 months a stance criticised as ungenerous to people whose lives had been devastated by the tragedy.
Under the new policy, after the initial period of 12 months, Grenfell survivors would be able to apply for further periods of limited leave to remain, building up to five years. They could then apply for permanent residency.Emma Dent Coad, a member of parliament from the opposition Labour Party who represents the area where Grenfell stands, dismissed the Conservative government’s announcement as an inadequate fudge.Asked why permanent residency rights were not being offered now, a spokesman for the Home Office, or interior ministry, said the government had to act within immigration laws as they stood.
Martin Moore-Bick, chairman of a public inquiry into the fire, was among those who had asked the government to reconsider the previous policy, saying some survivors did not want to take part in his investigation because of fears over their long-term immigration status.