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, access to housing, education, or National Health Service (NHS) healthcare; to emotional distress or deterioration in mental and physical health.
The compensation scheme is open to anyone from any nationality who 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 arrived and settled in the UK before 1973.
Certain 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.
Javid told the House of Commons: “There is no cap on the scheme, so no one knows what the eventual cost will be. It will be based on people’s needs and the claims that are made by eligible people, but the baseline estimate from my Department is that it will be approximately £200 million.”
“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,” Javid said.
“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.”
Many of those affected were people from Caribbean countries who arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1971.
British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad, in providing further details during a press conference at the High Commission in St Andrew today, said that “no amount of money can undo the injustice, or the pain or damage… to individuals and their families”.
“But this goes, someway, towards redressing those considerations. But I hope that what will accompany the compensation… will be a formal UK government apology to the victims concerned,” he added.
High Commissioner Ahmad said that with the help of the Jamaican government, the UK has been able to track down "a huge number of people, and some 3,600 have actually had their British citizenship afforded to them”.
The Home Office will also refund fees paid for certain immigration applications that were unsuccessful, and reimburse certain associated legal costs that were incurred.
The High Commissioner informed that the claim process will be open for two years.
“What is unique about this compensation scheme is that it is not budget-limited. As the Home Secretary said, although he has a ballpark figure of how much the exercise is likely to cost, which is £200 million, that is not the ceiling… . If it is more than that, [then that] is what the government will provide,” he pointed out.
The Windrush helpline will be open to receive calls from claimants, explain the compensation scheme and provide advice and guidance. The helpline number is +44 (0) 800-678-1925 and persons may call from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
The Windrush generation was named after the ship that brought the first 492 passengers from Jamaica, Trinidad and other islands to Britain in 1948 – HMT Empire Windrush. A total of 500,000 workers and their families were eventually invited to the UK from former colonies and granted citizenship as subjects of the empire, to help rebuild the country after World War II.
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