On 22 June 1948, the Empire Windrush docked in the UK. Onboard his ship were many citizens, primarily from the Caribbean, who had come to the UK to work and live. After the Second World War Britain needed to be rebuilt, therefore it was advertised across all of the UK and across Britain’s colonies that many jobs had become available. Many people from the British colonies had recently served in the British armed forces during the war, and therefore, they responded to these adverts and came to live in Britain.
In 1971, the Immigration Act was introduced in order to control immigration. It stated that all citizens already settled in the UK, prior to the act coming into force in 1973, were entitled to remain in the UK indefinitely. Although records had not been kept of all of the people who had moved to the UK during this time, all of the Windrush generation was automatically protected.
This topic resurfaced a few years ago when the Immigration Act of 2014 was introduced. The clause protecting these residents from deportation was quietly omitted, and many people found themselves without any status in the UK and facing deportation. This particularly affected the children of the Windrush generation: children who had been born and raised in the UK were suddenly at risk of being deported. This was soon uncovered and exposed to the public, and it sparked an outrage throughout the UK. This has since been reversed and an official apology was issued by the government. Those who suffered a loss as a result of these events, can apply for the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
The Windrush Compensation Scheme:
Applicant’s are eligible for the scheme if they fall under one of the following categories:
- Those who came from a Commonwealth country prior to 1 January 1973
- Those who, irrespective of their nationality, have a right abode or settled status and arrived prior to the 31st of December 1988
If you do not fall under those categories, the following are also eligible:
- “Children and grandchildren of Commonwealth citizens in certain circumstances”
- “The estates of those who are now deceased but who would have otherwise been eligible to claim compensation”
- “Close family members of eligible claimants where there has been a significant impact on their life or where there is evidence of certain direct financial costs”
Further elaboration on this can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme
The Scheme not only ensures the affected individual will receive an apology, but also financial compensation for their losses and suffering. The amount of compensation will vary depending on the case.
As stated on the government website, compensation can be claimed in relation to cases of:
- Immigration fees
- Detention and removal
- Driving licences
- Impact on normal daily life
The government website further offers specific guidance’s further detailing the situations in which compensation can be claimed.
In making an application, it is advised that applicant’s demonstrate proof of having taken reasonable steps to regularise their status. By demonstrating their efforts to resolve their circumstances, applicant’s will avoid being refused.
The application is made by filling out a form. There are different forms to be completed depending on which category applicants fall under, and whether an application is made from inside or outside the UK. Once submitted, the applicant will have to wait for the Home Office’s decision.
Further guidance regarding the forms can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme
The deadline to make an application is 2 April 2021, and all applications are free. Any applications after this date will only be considered, in the case of exceptional circumstances for missing the deadline.