UK to Pay Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Compensation to Windrush Victims

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said there is no cap on the compensation scheme but it is estimated it will cost about £200 million.

LONDON, England, Wednesday April 3, 2019 – British Home Secretary Sajid Javid today opened an estimated £200 million (US$263 million) scheme to compensate members of the so-called Windrush generation, including immigrants from the Caribbean, who were unable to prove their right to live in the United Kingdom.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme which was designed in
consultation with those affected and will have independent oversight, is the
latest step in the government’s commitment to right the wrongs experienced by
the Windrush generation.

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
or access to housing, education or NHS healthcare to emotional distress or deterioration
in mental and physical health.

Responding to questions after how much the scheme would cost,
after making the announcement in the House of Commons, Javid said: “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.”

Last April, Javid established the Windrush Taskforce that has
helped over 3,600 people secure British citizenship. An independent review, led
by Wendy Williams, has also been set up to establish what went wrong and how to
prevent it happening again.

“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.

Queen’s Counsel Martin Forde was appointed to oversee the design
of the compensation scheme, providing independent scrutiny on the operation of
the initiative.

“I have been involved in advising the Home Office on the design of
the Windrush Compensation Scheme, and I believe it is accessible and most
importantly, fairly compensates those who have suffered,” he said.

“The scheme has been built on feedback from affected communities,
and their personal stories have been crucial in its design.”

The first call for evidence received 650 responses and a formal
consultation on the compensation scheme generated responses from almost 1,500
individuals and organizations.

The scheme is open to anyone of 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.

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 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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