In some good news for the survivors of the horrific fire at Grenfell tower in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, it appears that the British government will offer a 12-month immigration "amnesty" to the survivors of the incident.
The devastating fire that took place last month caused huge amounts of devastation to the residents of the tower block, many of whom are still unaccounted for. It is believed that efforts aren't being helped by a large number of people who were illegal immigrants living in the block. Many of the survivors are afraid of coming forward for fear of revealing their current status to authorities.
The main fear for local campaigners is indeed what happens after the 12-month 'amnesty" runs out. With the UK currently looking to significantly reduce the number of immigrants in the country, it would appear that these particular survivors would be easy pickings. It is also been reported that so far none of the survivors have taken up new accommodation. This is in stark contrast to government promises that they would be rehoused within a short time period.
There has been uproar caused by the failure of the local council to act on the issues of the survivors. The council has a vast reserve of cash, yet has been extremely slow in finding new homes for those affected. The criticism escalated in the immediate aftermath when angry locals stormed the council offices in order to remonstrate with council officials. Since then the leader of the council finally bowed to calls for him to resign, and he has since been replaced. The anger within the local community is palpable. The council is home to some of the richest people in the country, though it also has some extreme examples of poverty. Such was the area in which Grenfell tower stands. Many have argued that the response would have been significantly different if the inhabitants had been some of the boroughs richer residents.
It now remains to be seen if the survivors of the inferno will indeed be looked after, or indeed their worst fears will come true and they will be removed once the 12 month period ends. Though fortunately for them, there appear to be large sections of the media who have kept up interest in their plight, and this will only aid their case. There are also many local campaigners who have taken up the fight on behalf of the survivors, and the large outpouring of support in the days following the disaster can only be a good thing for the future prospects of those involved.
The collective shock from the rest of the public also means that in the future the quality of building control, especially in older buildings is likely to improve. These improvements will, unfortunately, come too late for those who lost their lives at Grenfell on that hellish morning.