Revised policy guidance for Grenfell relatives published today states that people with core participant status or those called to be a witness at the Inquiry who are already in the country, will be able to extend their stay in the UK for a further 6 months.
This is to provide certainty for relatives that they will be able to remain for the anticipated period of the Inquiry’s oral evidence sessions.
Family members who are overseas with core participant status, who are required to attend or are called as a witness who apply for a visit visa, should also be assured that these applications will be considered quickly on a case by case basis, taking into account the compelling and compassionate circumstances.
Core participants are people or organisations, who have applied for that status because they have a significant interest in proceedings or could be subject to scrutiny. A core participant can be invited to participate during the Inquiry, for example by making statements or suggesting lines of questioning to be pursued.
The Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes said:
The Grenfell Tower fire was a tragedy that should never have happened. Our highest priority has been to ensure the survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy receive the support they need.
We have always been clear that we will do everything we can to make sure that relatives who are required to provide evidence in person, or need to be in the UK to participate in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry are able to do so.
That is why we have published this revised guidance today, to ensure those with Core Participant status are able to extend their stay.
Today’s announcement builds on the Grenfell survivors’ immigration policy which was introduced in July last year to allow individuals with insecure immigration status who lost their homes in the fire to regularise their status and access support.
Later that year, it was announced that those qualifying under the policy will be able to apply for permanent residence in the UK after 5 years’ lawful residence.
You can read further information relating to the fire at Grenfell Tower and the full Grenfell relatives’ policy guidance on GOV.UK