AMBER Rudd has announced UK citizenship tests and language will be waived for the Windrush generation.

Unveiling the new measures, the Home Secretary (pictured), who along with her predecessor Theresa May has faced intense pressure over the crisis, acknowledged that the “state has let these people down”.

She said: “We were too slow to realise there was a group of people that needed to be treated differently.  “And the system was too bureaucratic when these people were in touch.”

Those who have been living legally in Britain for decades have lost their jobs, been denied access to NHS treatment, benefits and pensions, had their driving licences withdrawn and been warned they face deportation.

Ministers faced a furious backlash over the treatment of the Windrush generation – named after the first ship that brought them to Britain in 1948.

People who had arrived in the UK before 1973 were automatically granted indefinite leave to remain but the Home Office did not keep a record of those allowed to stay or any documentation confirming their status.

Rudd faced calls to resign and to stop acting as May’s “human shield” over immigration.

The Home Secretary was urged by the SNP to scrap the Prime Minister’s hostile environment policy and “unrealistic” immigration targets – which include reducing annual net immigration below 100,000 – and instead pursue an ethical approach.

Rudd said: “I’m personally committed to tackling illegal migration because I have seen in this job the terrible impact has on some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Joanna Cherry, the SNP’s justice and home affairs spokeswoman, advised Rudd to “have the decency to resign” and speak against the “disgraceful” immigration policies from the backbenches if she felt unable to take action to abandon those policies.

She accused Rudd of “desperate firefighting” before warning that EU nationals in the UK are “right to fear for their position after Brexit” given that decades of contributions had made “absolutely no difference” to how the Windrush generation have been treated.

Cherry said: “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.”