Apology issued to woman refused help under Windrush scheme
Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, has issued an apology to Willow Sims after she was incorrectly informed that she was not eligible for help in proving her status from the Windrush Taskforce team.
The lawyer working on compensation claims for victims of the Windrush scandal asked the Government to urgently clarify which group of people the Windrush Taskforce will assist after they wrongly informed Ms Sims that she was ineligible for help because she did not originally move to the UK from a Commonwealth country.
Ms Sims moved to the UK from the US at the age of four but lost her Indefinite Right To Remain documents when she was taken into foster care following the death of her mother.
She lived peacefully in the UK for over 35 years until she needed to provide her documents so that she could undergo a simple Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as part of a job as a teaching assistant in a school.
Despite holding a passport that claimed she had been granted the right to remain, Ms Sims was declared an illegal immigrant, which sparked the beginning of a nightmare situation.
Ms Sims lost her right to work in the UK, her access to health care and to benefits. She is now thousands of pounds in debt and has had to turn to food banks to help feed herself.
Ms Sims telephoned the Windrush Taskforce for help. This team was set up to assist those who had become victims of the hostile environment created by the government in a bid to combat illegal UK immigration.
The task force is there to help those of any nationality who settled in the UK before 31st December 1988 to access documents that can prove their status.
It seems that their failure to help Ms Sims has exacerbated her situation, prompting the Home Secretary to step in and ensure Ms Sims urgently receives the help that she needs.
Mr Javid apologised for the lack of action by the task force during a statement in the House of Commons and conceded that his team had made a mistake and that they should have recognised the importance of the case as soon as Ms Sims made the initial call.