The Windrush scandal currently shows no signs of abating, but the UK Government is finally taking steps to try and right the wrongs that have been committed and provide support to the people affected.
In the first of several recent developments, it announced the establishment of a new team to help Commonwealth citizens confirm their status in the UK.
This team will operate across Government, including with HMRC, DWP and the Department for Education, to help individuals identify and gather evidence to confirm their existing right to be in the UK. The team will include a dedicated contact point and aim to resolve cases within two weeks once the evidence has been put together. In addition, no one affected will be charged for obtaining the necessary documentation to prove their right to be here.
“This is about individuals, people who have built their lives here in the UK and contributed so much to our society,” explained then Home Secretary Amber Rudd. “I don’t want them to feel unwelcome or to be in any doubt about their right to remain here. There is absolutely no question about their right to remain and I am very sorry for any confusion or anxiety felt.”
In another recent development, the Home Secretary announced that members of the Windrush generation who arrived in the UK before 1973 will be eligible for free citizenship.
This will apply to people from all Commonwealth countries, not just Caribbean nationals, and will also include individuals who have no current documentation, those who already have leave to remain and want to advance their status, and children of the Windrush generation.
In addition, people in these circumstances will not be required to pass the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test, which is normally a requirement of obtaining citizenship.
In recognition of the difficulties and upset already experienced by people who have been unable to prove their right to be in the UK and have therefore been denied access to services, the Government has also announced that a compensation scheme will be established to provide recompense for loss or damage suffered. Further details are expected on this in due course.
The Windrush generation will also have access to a new customer contact centre to get advice on the many different immigration routes. According to the Government, this centre will be staffed by experienced caseworkers who will offer expert advice and identify a systemic problem much more quickly in the future.
“The contribution of the Windrush generation and their right to be in the UK is in no doubt and I deeply regret the situation that has arisen,” commented Amber Rudd.
“It is only right that the significant contribution the Windrush generation have made to the UK is recognised. That is why I want to ensure they can acquire the status they deserve – British citizenship – quickly, at no cost and with proactive assistance through the process,” she said. “It is also why I want to make sure we set up a compensation scheme that works in the best interests of those affected.”
At McGill & Co we have an experienced team of EU migration lawyers who are acutely aware of all factors that may concern you, particularly in light of Brexit. Several years before the current scandal hit the media we represented a client who was experiencing identical issues to a number of the Windrush cases and won his case at the Court of Session.
For advice on any British Citizenship matter, or other areas of UK immigration law, then contact our expert immigration solicitors today. McGill & Co is ranked as a market leader in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law. With offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, we cover all areas of Scotland and throughout the UK. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
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