Windrush Generation – Free Citizenship
Headlining the news for the last week has been about the Windrush Generation scandal.
The Windrush Generation arrived in the UK, from various Caribbean countries between 1948-1971 and are resident in the UK. These migrants had fought for Britain in WWII and invited by the UK to fill jobs where there was a shortage.
These migrants of Commonwealth countries who were already living in the UK were all granted Indefinite Leave to Remain, under the 1970 Immigration Act, though the Home Office did not document this, therefore there is no formal evidence of them being granted ILR in the UK. In addition, the children of some of these migrants who entered on their parent’s passports had not naturalised as British.
In 2012, a rule change was implemented by the then Home Secretary Theresa May. in an attempt to stop migrants overstaying, whereby migrants would have to produce evidence of their right to be in the UK to GP’s, landlords, teachers and so forth.
The Windrush Generation fell victim to this change, with severe repercussions of some being refused medical attention and others losing their jobs! This was a massive faux pas by the British Government and has led to innocent people who were told they have the right to be in the UK being penalised.
In attempt to rectify this mess, the Home Office have announced that, members of the Windrush Generation who entered the UK before 1973, will be eligible for free citizenship. The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, also stated that they will introduce compensation scheme:
“….a compensation scheme will be set up for individuals who have suffered loss or damage because of their inability to evidence their right to be in the UK and to access services. The Home Office will be engaging with stakeholders on the scope of the compensation on offer and appointing an independent adviser to oversee the scheme.”
In addition to being exempt from the fee, they will also be exempt from meeting the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test requirements. A new customer contact centre has also been set up to ensure the right help is available to those who are struggling to understand the various immigration routes and best solution for them.
Finally, the Home Secretary has also promised the following:
“Third, the children of the Windrush generation who are in the UK will in most cases are 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.”
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Author: Amisha Jethwa