My Lords, I want to draw attention to the difficulty that some children of migrant families brought up in the UK are facing, which has the potential to become another Windrush-style scandal. It is only when these children are planning to go into higher education and start to fill out their UCAS forms that they realise that they do not have the right documentation. Those over the age of 18 could face the threat of deportation. This is because they came to the UK as young children on their parents’ passport, and grew up and went to school here, but when they try to fulfil their dream of going to university, they realise they do not have the necessary papers.
They are not British citizens or refugees and do not have indefinite leave to remain, so before filling out their UCAS forms, they have to apply for limited leave to remain—an immigration status that allows them to legally stay in the UK for a period. However, this could mean a wait of up to three years to process. To make matters worse, applicants for student finance need to have had lawful status in the UK for at least three years before the start of the academic year when their course begins.
It is an impossible situation. They can apply for limited leave to remain, if they have lived in the UK for seven years before their 18th birthday, but even if this legal status application is successful, they cannot work, yet they need money to reapply for legal status every two and a half years for 10 years paying around £2,000 each time until they eventually become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
This Windrush-style scandal is causing much heartache, depression and anxiety. What are the Government doing to avoid this catastrophe unfolding and help these intelligent young people fulfil their dreams, which will benefit society in the long term?