While Indians in the US have already been facing issues with visa and stringent immigration rules, those living in the UK do not have it easy either. Wednesday, May 2, witnessed hundreds of highly-skilled South Asian migrants gathering outside the UK Parliament to protest against delays in the processing of their indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK.
ILR is an immigration status that is granted to someone who does not have the right of abode in the country but has been admitted without any restriction on the time limit of stay. The person can also seek employment or study in the country.
About 400 professionals comprising IT consultants, mental nurses, and others, mostly from India and Pakistan, were seen protesting in the rain. While many of these professionals have reportedly been facing issues due to the delay in processing the application, others are unhappy that their application was turned down, reported the Times of India.
Several residency applications have reportedly been rejected over discrepancies in tax returns and the UK immigration has even branded these professionals as "threats to national security."
Protestors, some of whom even came with babies, said that they do not want to go back to their home countries as they had been in the UK for such a long time that it felt like home. Not just that, they were also accustomed to the way of life and knew the British job market well.
The protestors also explained that the UK was turning down their application and defaming their character, which in turn will make it difficult for them to attain a visa for any other country. The protestors carried placards and should slogans like "Tax correction is not a crime," and "this is Windrush 2."
"I think it's the same as the Windrush scandal", TOI quoted said Hari Babu from Kochi, Kerala, as saying. "They said I had underdeclared my income to avoid paying tax.
"I feel like this country has failed me. I was a higher rate taxpayer, I took zero benefits. I have never even been to hospital. They are exploiting a loophole to meet deportation targets. Windrush is just the tip of the iceberg. There are huge issues going on with the home office."
So what is the Windrush Scandal?
The Windrush scandal is a British political scandal, which involved the immigration status of the members of the Windrush generation. The generation comprises British African Caribbean people, who were mainly brought to the UK on a ship – HMT Empire Windrush – in 1948 as Britain faced an acute labor shortage.
The scandal blew up when the home office, November 2017 onwards, is said to have threatened the children of Commonwealth immigrants who arrived in the UK before 1973 with deportation if they could not provide valid immigration documents as proof.
While Prime Minister Theresa May had to apologize to the Caribbean nations for the reported deportation threat, even offering a compensation to those affected, home secretary Amber Rudd had denied that the department has issued any such threat. However, she turned in her resignation after several news outlets published documents hinting that Rudd knew of it throughout.