London, UK – Brits deported to Jamaica have been advised not to speak in a British accent in a patronising Home Office leaflet filled with tips on how to blend in. The advice, issued in 2013, urges deportees to ‘try to be Jamaican’, saying a British accent would “attract unwanted attention”.
The instruction booklet, entitled “Coming Home to Jamaica” was first published in 2013 by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and was updated in 2015. The leaflet is accompanied by a DVD and is given to all Jamaican nationals about to be deported from the UK.
Since the document came to light this week, Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd has face criticism over the “appalling” treatment of the ‘Windrush generation’ – a group named after the Empire Windrush, the ship which brought some of the first Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948 to help the country rebuild after World War II.
According to the Nationality Act of 1948, anyone who arrived in the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973 is a British Citizen but now they face being deported under new immigration rules despite living and working in the UK for decades.
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, expressed outrage at the guide in Parliament.
What is this Theresa May and Amber Rudd? I thought this was a joke but UK Home Office have actually produced a “Coming home to Jamaica guide”. Eg “Try to be Jamaican”. How can someone do that when they are British and their home is in Britain? It is hard to believe that this document was written, approved and published. The very fact that the government feels that this is an appropriate way to treat the ancestors of those Caribbean pioneers who were invited to Britain as citizens tells its own sad story about the treatment of immigrants in our country. – David Lammy
Since the scandal broke, Prime Minister May met with 12 Commonwealth Heads of Government and assured them that the situation will be rectified and apologized for the anxiety that has been caused.
We very much regret any anxiety that uncertainty over their status may have caused. We would also like to reassure you that there will be no removals or detention as part of any assistance to help these citizens get their proper documentation in place. – Theresa May, PM
People born in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries are thought to be more affected than those from other Commonwealth nations, as they were more likely to arrive on their parent’s passports without their own ID documents.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has also apologized for the “wrong” and “appalling” treatment of the so-called Windrush generation and said she was concerned the Government “sometimes loses sight” of individuals.
She further advised Parliament that a special division has been setup in her office to determine if any among the Windrush generation have been deported.
The Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates that some 50,000 Commonwealth-born people in the UK, who arrived before 1971, may not yet have regularised their residency status.