Concerns grow that Grenfell survivors might not seek support because of fears over immigration status

"Groups working on the ground in Kensington are worried that people could be prevented from seeking support or even from notifying authorities of missing relatives"
"Groups working on the ground in Kensington are worried that people could be prevented from seeking support or even from notifying authorities of missing relatives"
Natalie Bloomer By

By Natalie Bloomer 

Concerns are growing that survivors of the Grenfell fire may be deterred from coming forward due to fears over their immigration status.

Groups working on the ground in Kensington are worried that people could be prevented from seeking support or even from notifying authorities of missing relatives.

This comes as the Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy appealed for people to come forward if they know of anybody living or staying at the block that has not yet been reported as missing.


Jolyon Maugham, the director of the Good Law Project, says that he's been informed that some undocumented migrants who were living at Grenfell are worried about coming forward.

"They now face a choice between seeking justice and risking deportation or melting back into broader society," Maugham said.

He is calling for an immigration status amnesty for anybody living at the tower block.

"We have to ask ourselves as a society: are all victims of this tragedy entitled to justice or do we operate a two-tier system that permits harm to be wrought upon those with the wrong immigration status?"

The Radical Housing Network, of which the Grenfell Action Group are members, today called for the government to ensure that anybody residing at the block must be offered housing regardless of immigration status.

A spokesperson for the group said:

"Public authorities must commit to rehousing all residents to ensure their future safety and security. Grenfell was home to council tenants, private renters, homeowners, subtenants and people staying with family and friends. The council has a responsibility to all of these people. No-one should be left in a worse situation by this tragedy."

Although the government has made guarantees of support to all residents of the block, it has not made clear how it will deal with those who were there without the authorities knowing.

As well as housing, questions are being asked about whether undocumented migrants will be able to access the funds being made available to survivors, particularly as many may not have a bank account.

When contacted by Politics.co.uk this morning, the Home Office did not confirm whether the support being offered to survivors will be available regardless of immigration status. It advised those with questions to call the helplines.

Natalie Bloomer is a journalist for Politics.co.uk. You can follow her here.

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