Amber Rudd has announced British citizenship fees and language tests will be waived for the Windrush generationamid fresh calls for her resignation over the scandal.
Addressing the House of Commons, the Home Secretary also vowed to pay compensation and suggested the Government could cover the costs of helping people return to the UK from abroad if they choose to do so.
But she faced a number of calls to step down over the treatment of Windrush migrants, some of whom have been threatened with deportation after they were unable to prove their right to stay in the UK.
Ms Rudd was also accused of allowing the Prime Minister to use her as a "human shield" over the issue, amid claims it was Theresa May who initiated the so-called "hostile environment" policy which caused Windrush migrants to be caught up in strict checks. Joanna Cherry, the SNP's justice and home affairs spokeswoman, advised Ms Rudd to "have the decency to resign".
She added: " The Home Secretary has used Home Office staff as a shield to hide behind from criticism, and in turn she herself is being used by the Prime Minister - not for the first time - as a human shield to protect the Prime Minister from the repugnant consequences of policies the Prime Minister authored.
"The time has come for this Home Secretary to bite the bullet - will she emerge from the shadow of the Prime Minister and scrap her predecessor's hostile environment policy?"
Speaking yesterday Ms Rudd accepted the blame for the scandal was hers but denied calls to step aside, instead telling MPs: "I do take responsibility for this and I want to be the person to put it right."She also vowed to change the culture of the Home Office, after criticising officials last week for failing to see the human side of immigration cases, but she refused to be drawn on whether the Government will drop its target to cut net migration to the tens of thousands.A new "contact centre" will be established, she told MPs, which aims to pick up patterns and help ministers identify problems before they reach the stage the Windrush scandal has. The Home Secretary told her Conservative colleague Anna Soubry: "It is about a change of culture which I will be trying to trickle down the department, but let me be clear I am not blaming anybody else, I am saying I want to make sure there is more time, more focus, more resource so there can be more engagement with individuals rather than just numbers."
Ms Rudd said in a statement: "I want to enable the Windrush generation to acquire the status they deserve – British citizenship – quickly, at no cost and with proactive assistance through the process.
"First, I will waive the citizenship fee for anyone in the Windrush generation who wishes to apply for citizenship. This applies to those who have no current documentation, and also to those who have it.
"Second, I will waive the requirement to carry out a Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test.
"Third, the children of the Windrush generation who are in the UK will in most cases be British citizens. However, where that is not the case and they need to apply for naturalisation, I shall waive the fee.
"Fourth, I will ensure that those who made their lives here but have now retired to their country of origin, are able to come back to the UK. Again, I will waive the cost of any fees associated with this process and will work with our embassies and High Commissions to make sure people can easily access this offer."