Former residents of the west London tower block, ‘Grenfell Tower’ where around 80 people died in a fire that gutted the building earlier in June, will be granted the opportunity to extend their leave to remain in Britain for up to five years, Government has announced.
They will thereafter apply for a permanent residency.
The development is an initial goodwill extension of the Government to Grenfell survivors in the immediate aftermath of the fire, when those with unsettled immigration status were given 12 months leave to remain in the UK.
In a written statement to Parliament, immigration minister Brandon Lewis revealed the new offer was premised on thorough consultation with residents and Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the former court of appeal judge in charge of the Grenfell Tower inquiry.
Mr Lewis said: “Our initial response to this terrible tragedy was rightly focused on survivors’ immediate needs in the aftermath of the fire and ensuring they could access the services they need to start to rebuild their lives”.
“However, 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 well as the views of Sir Martin Moore-Bick”, he added.
Stressing further, Mr Lewis said, “The Government believes it is right to provide this specific group of survivors greater certainty over their long-term future in the UK, subject to their continued eligibility and the necessary security and criminality checks being met”.
“Eligible survivors granted the initial 12 months’ leave outside the Immigration Rules will be able to apply for further periods of limited leave with access to public funds and permission to work, and indefinite leave to remain after five years’ lawful residence”, he explained.
In addition, the Home Office announced that those relatives of survivors or victims of the fire who have already been granted entry to the UK in the wake of the tragedy to provide support or to arrange funerals – will be able to stay for up to six months from their date of entry.
The eligible individuals however have until 30 November to come forward to officials, as a specialist Home Office team is currently based near to Grenfell Tower.