The grand-daughter of two members of the Windrush generation says she feels like “a victim punished for something I have no control over” after being told by a government agency she does not qualify as British.
Tanya Simms, from Sheffield, applied for a passport so she could go on her friend’s hen party but was turned down on the grounds that neither of her parents were settled in the UK at the time of her birth.
The 27-year-old’s mother arrived in the country at the age of 14 in 1973, joining her own parents who came to the UK in the 1960s from Jamaica. She later married but was only naturalised in 1996, six years after her daughter, Miss Simms, was born.
As a result of the Passport Office’s refusal to issue Miss Simms a passport, neither she or her nine-year-old daughter Talia can now leave the country.
She told The Yorkshire Post that she feels like a “citizen of nowhere” after being told by the Jamaican government that she could not get a passport there as she had never set foot in the country.
The Home Office has since informed her that she would need to apply for citizenship, which would involve taking a citizen test at a cost of £1,000, something she cannot afford.
Miss Simms said: “I feel like a victim punished for something I have no control over. It’s shameful the way the Government have treated the generation and generations to come after.”
She added: “I feel British because I can work here and I can go to the doctor’s or hospital, but I can’t get out of the country. It’s like I am in prison, my daughter is in the same boat.”
Her case has been taken up by Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP Gill Furniss and is now being looked at again by the Home Office.
Ms Furniss said: “The Government’s inhumane treatment of my constituent has been truly sickening. Her grandparents were among the Windrush generation who rebuilt Britain and made it what it is today.
“Ms Simms was born here, works here and pays taxes and National Insurance here. And now she and her daughter are being told they are not British citizens.
“This was no accident. It is the result of a hateful, ideologically-driven anti-immigrant agenda championed by the Prime Minister, and formerly the Home Secretary, to establish the Government’s ‘Hostile Environment’ policy.
“I will be following up Ms Simms’ case with the Home Office to ensure that there are answers.”