Home Secretary forced to make apology to Windrush migrants
Home Secretary Sajid Javid was forced into an embarrassing apology yesterday after it emerged that up to 164 members of the Windrush generation had been illegally detained or deported from the UK.
Javid’s mea culpa was directed towards 18 of the migrants who had been subject to the worst treatment. Seven were detained by immigration officers, while 11 were forcibly removed. The Home Office has committed to ensuring that all of these 11 are given the opportunity to return to the UK, and that all 18 are financially compensated.
Several news outlets have reported that ministers have instructed civil servants to contact another 146 more Windrush migrants who, officials believe, were also illegally detained or deported. Half will already have lost their right to live in the UK, having been overseas for more than 2 years, unless the Government makes special dispensation.
In his apology, Mr Javid committed himself to “righting the wrongs of the past,” and to providing affected people and their families with “the support and compensation they deserve.” The Secretary of State also said that he had appointed an “independent adviser to look at what lessons we can learn from Windrush.”
Who are the Windrush generation?
In 1948, the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, carrying 1,027 people from the Caribbean who had chosen to move to the UK under the recently passed British Nationality Act. The new law granted UK Citizenship status to anyone connected with the UK or a British Colony. Those who arrived on the Empire Windrush were among the first migrants to arrive in the UK in large numbers, though many thousands more would do so over the following years, including the thousands of overseas men and women who had fought for Britain in the Second World War.
In 1971, most of the Windrush generation were told that they could live in the UK permanently; however, it has since emerged that the Government did not keep proper records of these decisions. As a result of this poor record keeping, some have been accused of being illegal immigrants and have had harsh measures taken against them including – in some cases – detention or deportation.
Help and advice if you are affected
UK immigration law is complex, and dealing with Home Office officials, tribunals, and formal procedures can be a daunting prospect. If you or your family are affected by the problems facing many of the Windrush generation, early specialist legal advice can be vital to getting the right outcome. Contact us today, and our dedicated immigration barristers will do all they can to offer support and advice.