UK launches Windrush compensation scheme

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A report from Caribbean News Now.

Britain’s home secretary last week opened a scheme to compensate members of the Windrush generation who were unable to prove their right to live in the UK.

The scheme, which was designed in consultation with those affected and will have independent oversight, is the latest step in the government’s commitment to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation.

It will provide payments to eligible individuals who did not have the right documentation to prove their status in the UK and suffered adverse effects on their life as a result. These could range from a loss of employment or access to housing, education or NHS health care to emotional distress or deterioration in mental and physical health.

Last April, the home secretary established the Windrush taskforce that has helped over 3,600 people secure British citizenship. An independent lesson learned review, led by Wendy Williams, has also been set up to establish what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.

Home secretary, Sajid Javid said: “When I became home secretary, I vowed to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation. We’ve been working tirelessly to fulfil that promise ever since and have helped more than 3,600 people secure the citizenship they were entitled to.

“But it’s right that we compensate those who faced extreme difficulties and hardship – and this scheme will go some way in doing that.

“The Windrush generation have given so much to this country, and we will ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Martin Forde QC commented: “I have been involved in advising the home office on the design of the Windrush compensation scheme, and I believe it is accessible and most importantly, fairly compensates those who have suffered.

“The scheme has been built on feedback from affected communities, and their personal stories have been crucial in its design.”

The scheme is open to anyone from any nationality which has the right to live or work in the UK without any restrictions or is now a British citizen and arrived in the UK before December 31, 1988. It is also open to anyone from a Commonwealth country who came and settled in the UK before 1973. Individual children and grandchildren of those arriving before 1973 and some close family members may also be eligible to apply.

People who were wrongfully detained or removed from the UK could also be able to make a claim.

The Home Office will also refund fees paid for specific immigration applications that were unsuccessful and reimburse certain associated legal costs that were incurred.

The scheme was shaped by evidence from affected individuals. The first call for evidence received 650 responses, and formal consultation on the compensation scheme generated responses from almost 1,500 individuals and organisations.

The home secretary appointed Martin Forde QC to oversee the design of the compensation scheme, providing independent scrutiny on the operation of the scheme.

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