Tears of joy as first Windrush immigrants given British citizenship

Glenda Caesar and Sonia Williams celebrate with their papers which gives them indefinite leave to remain. Credit: ITV News
  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Two of the first Windrush immigrants to be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK have spoken of their joy at getting official papers from the Home Office.

Threatened with deportation, Sonia Williams and Glenda Caesar have been trying to get their residence in the UK recognised for over 20 years.

Ms Caesar travelled from Dominica to the UK with her parents at just six months old, while Ms Williams has been in Britain since 1975.

"I'm a British citizen now," Ms Caesar proudly told ITV News.

"I started crying...I've been holding it in for so long that I couldn't hold it in for any longer," she said.

Ms Caesar lost her job of 16 years with the NHS after being unable to provide the right documentation.

Ms Williams was given indefinite leave to remain, which means she will have to wait for a year before she can apply to get her British passport.

"I can come and go from Britain as I please with no complications," she told ITV News.

It also means she can get her driver's licence back , which she lost due to the lack of appropriate documentation.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen with Windrush immigrants Credit: ITV News

Earlier this week, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the launch of a task force within the Home Office in response to the outcry over Britain's treatment of its Windrush immigrants.

"The team that is working on this are such a lovely set of people," Ms Caesar said when asked about the task force.

Both ladies say their newly acquired papers has given them 'confidence' that others in the same position will receive the necessary help to get their rights back.

The Home Office has also issued guidance on what type of evidence immigrants can submit to prove their residential status.

The news comes as the Prime Minister for the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet, said the exact number of those who were mistakenly deported would be revealed as more pressure is put on the Government.

"I think pretty soon that we’ll have an actual number to say how many people have been affected.

"Clearly there were a lot of people because our High Commission Officers, who reacted very quickly, were feeling the pressure.

"We as governments were feeling the pressure. And I certainly know the British government was feeling the pressure," he said.

Mr Chastanet told ITV News that he hoped the Windrush immigrants would be compensated for the stress and pain cause by the situation.

"We do know that if in fact some have been deported, they should be compensated and they should immediately be allowed to come back into the UK as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

"Those who have taken on legal fees.

"But there are a lot of people who have not come forward.

"We are really hoping that message that people have taken from our meeting is that it is resolved, they can come out, they are not going to get deported from the UK, they are going to get documented as quickly as possible and we will work collaboratively to make sure that happens."