PM Harris to discuss Caribbean migration issue at #10 Downing Street

While in London for the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris will join his CARICOM counterparts for a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May April 17 at No. 10 Downing Street, where CARICOM heads are expected to discuss the contentious issue of undocumented Caribbean migrants.

After the second World War between 1948 and 1973, the Caribbean provided well-needed man-power to fill labour shortages in what was referred to then as the “Motherland.”  Although many of the workers made significant contributions to modern-day Britain, some are considered “undocumented” and face the threat of deportation if unable to “regularize their status.”

Caribbean high commissioners in London first drew attention to this matter last week in an interview with the media hosted at the High Commission of St Kitts and Nevis in London in an effort to heighten awareness on the issue, advocate on behalf of affected migrants and call on the UK government to simplify the application process for pre-1971 Commonwealth citizens to regularize their status.

This has prompted an online petition that has accumulated more than 140,000 signatories, which means the matter had to be debated in Parliament. Today, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd made a public apology in the House of Common and promised to establish a Home Office task force to effectively address the concerns and to bring relief to the affected individuals.

Prime Minister Harris, along with his colleague CARICOM heads, will also use the opportunity to discuss other matters of concern to the region, including development aid, post-Brexit, climate change, de-risking and correspondent banking, graduation and concessional financing.

The prime minister is expected to follow a packed agenda, including the scheduled CHOGM meetings as well as other engagements in the margins. On Sunday, he hosted a meeting with nationals in Slough, which enjoyed the participation of more than 200 members from Birmingham, Leeds, London and Luton.