Grenfell survivors to be offered UK residency
Those affected by the 14 June fire will be granted indefinite leave to remain in Britain as the Government extends its offer.
Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire will be offered the chance to settle permanently in the UK, the Government has announced.
Former residents of the west London tower block, where around 80 people died, will be granted the opportunity to extend their leave to remain in Britain for up to five years.
At that point, those directly affected by the 14 June tragedy will be able to apply for permanent residency.
The move is an extension of the Government's initial offer to Grenfell survivors in the immediate aftermath of the fire, when those with unsettled immigration status were given 12 months leave to remain in the UK.
In a written statement to Parliament, immigration minister Brandon Lewis revealed the new offer has been designed following consultation with residents and Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the former court of appeal judge in charge of the Grenfell Tower inquiry.
Mr Lewis said: "Our initial response to this terrible tragedy was rightly focused on survivors' immediate needs in the aftermath of the fire and ensuring they could access the services they need to start to rebuild their lives.
"However, since the Grenfell Tower immigration policy was announced, we have been planning for the future of those residents affected by these unprecedented events and listening to their feedback, as well as the views of Sir Martin Moore-Bick.
"The Government believes it is right to provide this specific group of survivors greater certainty over their long-term future in the UK, subject to their continued eligibility and the necessary security and criminality checks being met.
"Eligible survivors granted the initial 12 months' leave outside the Immigration Rules will be able to apply for further periods of limited leave with access to public funds and permission to work, and indefinite leave to remain after five years' lawful residence."
The Home Office also announced those relatives of survivors or victims of the fire who have already been granted entry to the UK in the wake of the tragedy - in order to provide support or to arrange funerals - will be able to stay for up to six months from their date of entry.
Those who believe they are eligible for the extended immigration schemes have until 30 November to come forward to officials, with a specialist Home Office team currently based near to Grenfell Tower.
Volunteers working with survivors have previously said concerns about their immigration status were preventing some from seeking assistance.
Later on Wednesday, Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid revealed Kensington Council hopes to have all former Grenfell residents moved out of emergency hotel accommodation by Christmas, unless they want to stay.
Mr Javid told MPs on the House of Commons' Communities Select Committee there were 203 households from the tower and neighbouring properties in need of rehousing after the fire.
Of these, 92 are yet to be found new homes, many of whom are living in hotels, Mr Javid said.
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